Greenhouse*A*Syst: A free tool for growers
Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.
Are you interested in determining how your greenhouse can identify pollution risks, reduce nutrient losses and protect water resources? Greenhouse*A*Syst is a free assessment tool that growers can use to help identify management practices that when implemented will reduce the impact of their operation on the environment.
The production of greenhouse crops requires advanced technology and precise use of light, temperature, pesticides, fertilizers and water to produce high-quality garden and potted plants. Like other agricultural enterprises, floriculture involves a number of processes that can potentially affect surface and groundwater. Greenhouse*A*Syst was developed by MSU Extension educators to assist greenhouse growers to identify pollution risks and to make any needed improvements to protect water resources. It will also help growers become aware of applicable federal, state and local environmental regulations.
Greenhouse*A*Syst is a series of risk questions that will help evaluate how effectively a producer’s greenhouse management practices protect groundwater and surface water resources. The risk questions are grouped into 14 sections including greenhouse site and soil evaluation; pesticide storage, handling, and worker safety; fertilizer storage and handling; nutrient and water management practices; and pest management practices.
Producers who complete the Greenhouse*A*Syst assessment will be able to determine what structural, management practices or record-keeping changes (if any) will be needed for their businesses to be environmentally assured through the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP). Owners of MAEAP-verified greenhouse systems are eligible for various incentives and can enjoy good-faith effort environmental liability protection if an agricultural pollution emergency ever occurs at their facility.