To develop and implement a proactive environmental assurance program ensuring that Michigan farmers are engaging in cost-effective pollution prevention practices and working to comply with state and federal environmental regulations.
MAEAP was first developed in 1997 by a coalition of farmers, commodity groups, state and federal agencies, and conservation and environmental groups to provide a venue for farmers to become better educated about management options in order to protect and enhance the quality of natural resources. Partners from these groups are still involved with MAEAP’s work serving on committees and spreading the word to farmers. On March 8, 2011, Governor Rick Snyder signed the first legislation of his new administration, establishing MAEAP into law.
With confidentiality guaranteed by law, MAEAP provides a structure under which Michigan farmers can be assured they are effectively following approved MAEAP standards. These standards include inspected practices that are consistent with the identified Right to Farm Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices (GAAMPs). Through MAEAP, farmers show that they are working to comply with state and federal environmental laws specific to each system of the program.
This comprehensive, voluntary, proactive program is designed to reduce farmers’ legal and environmental risks through a three-phase process: 1) education; 2) farm-specific risk assessment and practice implementation; and 3) on-farm verification that ensure the farmer has implemented environmentally sound practices. The program’s four systems — Farmstead, Cropping, Livestock and the newly developed Forest, Wetlands and Habitats System — each examine different aspects of the farm. After becoming MAEAP verified, a farm can display a MAEAP sign signifying that MAEAP partners recognize the farm is environmentally assured.