Every day is Earth Day for farmers
Contact: Emily Ries, 800-292-2680, ext. 2026
LANSING, APRIL 19, 2013 — Michigan's agriculture community will commemorate Earth Week 2013 with a flurry of MAEAP verifications in several counties across the state. MAEAP—the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program—helps farms of all sizes and commodities implement pollution prevention measures and solemnizes their commitment to the highest standards of environmental stewardship.
Begun in 1999 and codified into state statute in 2011, MAEAP has become a model of environmental protection. In 2005 it earned national-level recognition as one of the foremost cooperative conservation programs in the nation.
"Each day of the year, Michigan farmers protect the state's water, land and natural resources. Farmers should be recognized for their commitment, and MAEAP is the tool for assuring it," said Emily Ries, agriculture ecology specialist at Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB), one of several partners that coordinate to steer, facilitate and strengthen the program.
Since its inception, Michigan farms have earned more than 1,500 MAEAP verifications in the program's core systems: farmstead, cropping and livestock. A 2011 challenge from Gov. Rick Snyder to attain 5,000 verifications by 2015 spurred MAEAP facilitators to redouble their promotional efforts and boost participation among farmers.
"I'm optimistic we can achieve that goal," Ries said. "County Farm Bureaus statewide have pledged to promote MAEAP, and participation is increasing. Our goal is to keep farmers in the queue for the local Conservation Districts.
"It's exciting to see farmers achieving verification and getting recognized for their commitment to superior stewardship."
Over the past year, farmstead verifications have increased 133 percent, while cropping verifications have increased almost sevenfold. Every year farmers working toward MAEAP verification invest more than $1.2 million in environmental improvements and upgrades.
MAEAP-verified farms have installed almost 10,000 acres of filter strips to help reduce soil erosion and prevent nutrient runoff, and they have stabilized almost 1,900 gullies to improve water quality. Altogether, erosion-reduction practices implemented through MAEAP keep more than 322,000 tons of soil in farm fields annually—the equivalent of more than 28,000 dump trucks of soil that isn't washing into streams and lakes.
Learn more about MAEAP online at http://www.maeap.org.
NOTE: To get connected with a MAEAP-verified farm in your area, contact MFB Local Media Specialist Nikki Baker at 800-292-2680, ext. 6584.