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Archived Story

More farmers in MAEAP

Published 7:08pm Thursday, August 2, 2012

Only 16 months ago, the governor signed the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) legislation that provides new incentives to encourage Michigan farmers to voluntarily participate in the MAEAP, and we are already seeing the benefits.
The law was enacted in March 2011 and in 2011, the state recorded 1,053 MAEAP verifications — an increase of 23 percent.
I have been an ardent supporter of this proactive environmental 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.
It is important that farmers and producers keep up with environmental issues that affect them and our entire 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. The proactive program also assists farmers in understanding the standards and helps them save money while also protecting our natural resources.
One local producer recently verified under the program is Domaine Berrien Cellars of Berrien Springs. Congratulations and thank you to Domaine Berrien for stepping up and working to protect the natural beauty of southwest Michigan.
For more information, visit www.maeap.org or call the MAEAP hotline at (517) 373-9797.

Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, represents the 21st District, which includes Berrien and Cass counties and most of Van Buren County.

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