The primary tool for working with agriculture in Michigan's portion of the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) is the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP). MAEAP is an innovative, proactive program that helps farms of all sizes and all commodities voluntarily minimize agricultural pollution risks. MAEAP was developed by a coalition of farmers, commodity groups, state and federal agencies, and conservation and environmental groups.
The department continues to support 7 MAEAP technical staff within the 5 counties of the WLEB through Michigan’s conservation districts. These industry funded positions are in place to build long term, trusting relationships with the farming community. These technicians are well trained in all aspects of farming and especially the current tool kit of Best Management Practices (BMPs). They are also trained to assist farmers in working through the maze of federal paperwork in gaining access to federal cost share dollars.
Through MAEAP, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is able to document the following environmental outcomes. (Note: because farms are verified every 5 years, the last column total represents the nutrient reduction that occurs each year on MAEAP verified farms).
Cereal Rye Cover Crops © NRCS/SWCS photo by Lynn Betts
Soybeans grow in last year's corn residue. This practice - called no-till - helps reduce soil erosion, improves soil quality over time, and saves farmer's money. © NRCS/SWCS photo by Lynn Betts