Environmental Assurance Program Verifies Local Farm
Benzie County Farm Recognized by MAEAP
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) is recognizing Blue Sky Hops, of Honor in Benzie County, as a verified farm in Farmstead and Cropping Systems for implementing appropriate pollution prevention practices. The program assists farmers to comply with state and federal environmental regulations and with Right to Farm practices. Technical assistance was provided by the Benzie Conservation District.
“By taking the steps necessary to become an environmentally verified operation, this Benzie County farm has contributed to the assurance of sustainable farming practices,” said MDARD Director Jamie Clover Adams. “Michigan is leading the national agriculture community in effective stewardship practices with the voluntary, incentive-based MAEAP program. The continued success of the program demonstrates that environmental sustainability and economic development are not mutually exclusive.”
MAEAP is a collaborative effort of farmers, MDARD, Michigan Farm Bureau, commodity organizations, universities, conservation districts, conservation and environmental groups and state and federal agencies. More than 100 local coordinators and technical service providers are available to assist farmers as they move through the MAEAP process toward verification. An average of 8,000 Michigan farmers attend educational programs annually, 10,000 Michigan farms have started the verification process and there are more than 4,000 verifications to date.
To become MAEAP verified, farmers must complete three comprehensive steps which include attending an educational seminar, conducting a thorough on-farm risk assessment, and developing and implementing an action plan addressing potential environmental risks. MDARD conducts an on-farm inspection to verify program requirements related to applicable state and federal environmental regulations, Michigan Right to Farm guidelines, and adherence to an action plan. When completed, the producer receives a certificate of environmental assurance. To remain a MAEAP verified farm, inspections must be conducted every five years and action steps must be followed.
MAEAP is a multi-year program allowing producers to meet personal objectives, while best managing both time and resources. The program encompasses four systems designed to help producers evaluate the environmental risks of their operation. Each system – Livestock, Farmstead, Cropping, and Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat – examines a different aspect of a farm, as each has a different environmental impact. By participating in all four systems, producers can comprehensively evaluate their entire farming operation for potential environmental risks.
For more information, visit the MAEAP website at www.maeap.org, contact Benzie Conservation District's MAEAP Technician, Lizzy Freed, or contact Joe Kelpinski, MDARD’s MAEAP Program Manager, at 517-284-5608.
The Lake Ann area is rich in history, wildlife, lakes and natural beauty. Addison Wheelock was among the founders of Almira Township and the village which later became Lake Ann. The 500-acre lake was christened Ann Lake, named after Addison's wife, Ann McBride Wheelock.
Join conservation specialist, John Ransom, on Friday, July 14th, from 9 am to 12 pm, as we paddle the shores of this beautiful lake, looking for birds and other wildlife while discussing water quality and the role of everyday citizens in protecting our waters. Loon sightings are a strong possibility, as the lake hosts a nesting pair during the summer.
Special guest writer, naturalist, and computer consultant, Jim Stamm, will join us for the paddle. Jim enjoys exploring and researching the waterways of Benzie County so much that he has written three reference guides for fishing by boat and for paddling the inland lakes and rivers. Click here to view his guide for Benzie County rivers and lakes.
You will need a canoe or kayak, paddles, life jackets, binoculars (optional), and appropriate clothing for weather conditions. No shuttling will be necessary as the tour will begin and end at the same place.
Location: launch at DNR public access site road, off N. Reynolds, 18643 Launch Site Rd, Lake Ann, MI 49650
To sign-up: contact John Ransom at email@example.com or 231-882-4391 x 13.