Environmental certification progressing on Upper Peninsula farms

Several farms in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula have gained MAEAP certification recently, demonstrating commitment to farming in an environmentally sound manner.

Photo by Jim Isleib, MSU Extension

Photo by Jim Isleib, MSU Extension

The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) works with Michigan farmers and other property owners to help them achieve environmental certification. The program is voluntary and provided at no charge to participants. The process involves three phases: education at local events or online, working with a technician on-farm to address any environmental issues identified, and then a final verification visit.

The education phase involves attending a meeting or event with content approved for credit by MAEAP. Qualifying events occur frequently across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, including many events sponsored by Michigan State University Extension educators, commodity groups, MAEAP technicians and other presenters. MAEAP also provides access on their website to qualifying educational videos.

The on-farm phase involves working through one or more of the program’s four “systems.” Landowners can select from Farmstead, Cropping, Livestock and Forest, Wetlands and Habitat systems. Workbooks for each system are available for review on the MAEAP website. A statewide staff of MAEAP technicians is available to assist farmers and landowners with working through the system evaluations and identifying practices to meet MAEAP requirements. All paperwork and information is strictly confidential and remains with the farmer or landowner.

The verification phase involves a site visit from a MAEAP verifier who will determine whether all necessary steps have been taken to address issues identified in the workbooks. Once completed, the farm or property can be verified as environmentally assured. Each farm that completes the program is provided with a complementary sign. These verifiers are also excellent people to visit with if you are interested in MAEAP and want more information.

MAEAP certification provides farmers and landowners the satisfaction of knowing they are engaging in environmentally sound practices. Completing the MAEAP process can also help with meeting Michigan’s Right to Farm and Right to Forest standards.

From June through August 2017, MAEAP verified four Upper Peninsula farms and 25 Forest, Wetlands and Habitat sites. The farms include Sweeten Farm LLC of Dafter, Hinkson Homegrown of Manistique, Happy Day Farm of Bark River and Seeds and Spores Family Farm of Marquette.

Congratulations to these newly verified Upper Peninsula farms!