LANSING— The Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) legislation was enacted in March of last year and in 2011 the state recorded 1,053 MAEAP verifications, which was an increase of 23 percent, said Sen. John Proos.
“The governor signed legislation only 15 months ago providing new incentives to encourage Michigan farmers to voluntarily participate in the MAEAP, and we are already seeing the benefits,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I have been an ardent supporter of this program, because it has been extremely successful for both Southwest Michigan farmers and our environment. It rewards responsible farmers and holds accountable those who harm our natural resources.”
MAEAP is a voluntary program that helps farms of all sizes and commodities prevent or minimize agricultural pollution risks. It is a three-step process that educates farmers, performs on-site assessments of environmental risks and requires third-party verifications that measures are in place to promote soil and water conservation on their farms.
“I believe that the MAEAP is a proactive environmental program for the agricultural community and the citizens of our state,” said Tom Bodtke, a Van Buren County blueberry farmer. “It is important that we all keep up with environmental issues that affect our farm families and our communities.”
The program teaches effective practices that comply with state and federal regulations to achieve economically viable solutions. MAEAP farms address issues such as chemical storage and use, well safety, soil erosion, and water resources.
“Since Michigan farmers have real, tangible benefits for their environmental efforts, we are well on our way to meeting the goal of verifying 80 percent of the state’s agricultural production by 2015,” Proos said. “The proactive program also assists farmers in understanding the standards and helps them save money while also protecting our natural resources.”
For more information, visit www.maeap.org or call the MAEAP hotline at 517-373-9797.
Editor’s Note – Audio comments by Sen. Proos are available on the senator’s webpage at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Podcasts.”