Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program
Water pollution comes from many sources, and some of it comes from farms. The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) offers assistance and recognition to farmers who reduce erosion and runoff from private land into public waters. We teach effective land stewardship practices that comply with state and federal regulations and show producers how to identify and prevent agricultural pollution risks on their farms.
This program is free and voluntary. Everything we learn about your farm is 100% confidential. This is guaranteed by state law.
Farmers who earn MAEAP recognition will receive a sign to display on their farm. This sign will show that you are a top steward in your community. You may also benefit from regulatory protections and be at an advantage for additional expert help and cost share. Above all, you will earn an enduring sense of pride and accomplishment for your work.
The program encompasses three systems designed to help producers evaluate the environmental risks of their operation. Each system — Cropping, Farmstead and Livestock — examines a different aspect of a farm, as each has a different environmental impact. Through each phase, producers will develop and implement economically feasible, effective and environmentally sound pollution prevention practices.
- Cropping System focuses on environmental issues related to cropping activities, such as irrigation and water use, soil conservation, and nutrient and pest management. The system has components focused on environmental issues related to manage diverse commodities.
- Farmstead System addresses environmental risks of the entire farmstead, from safe fuel handling to the proper storage of fertilizers and pesticides. It focuses on protecting surface and groundwater and is the one MAEAP system which is applicable to every size and kind of operation.
- Livestock System primarily focuses on environmental issues related to livestock activities, including manure handling, storage and field application, as well as conservation practices to protect water and prevent soil erosion. The system concentrates on production and conservation practices, equipment, structures and management activities associated with animal production.
- Forest, Wildlife and Habitat System focuses on practices that promote sustainable forestry, wetlands, and non-forest habitat. These include forest health; protecting air, water, and soil; and restoring habitat.
Within each system there are three phases that must be completed in order to become verified. These phases are:
- Education involves farmer attendance at a qualified MAEAP educational session. Held across the state, these sessions introduce farmers to MAEAP and update them on new and emerging regulations and opportunities affecting agriculture.
- On-farm risk assessment focuses on evaluating environmental risks and devising farm-specific and economically viable solutions. Each MAEAP system implements a unique risk assessment tool developed to address the environmental impacts of that system. Also, each assessment includes the development of an emergency plan.
- Third-party verification is where the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) verifies the farm after the requirements of Phase 1 and 2 are met; the State's Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices ( GAAMPs ) are being followed; and the farm has implemented practices specific to system requirements.
When verification requirements are successfully met, producers receive recognition for their accomplishments and access to incentives. With an on-going commitment to use environmentally sound management practices, and to maintain MAEAP Verification, producers must re-verify their MAEAP verification every five years.
To learn more about MAEAP visit the statewide MAEAP website. Or, contact the MAEAP Technican for more information or assistance with MAEAP verification and to discuss alternatives which can be implemented to help you reduce the risk of ground or surface water contamination on your farm.