Verification in each MAEAP system requires meeting all three phases for that system.
Phase 1 – Education involves farmer attendance at a qualified MAEAP educational session. Held across the state, these sessions introduce farmers to MAEAP and update them on new and emerging regulations and opportunities affecting agriculture. For a list of upcoming education sessions or to view online education options go to www.maeap.org.
Phase 2 – On-farm risk assessment focuses on evaluating environmental risks and devising farm-specific and economically viable solutions. Each MAEAP system uses a unique risk assessment tool developed to address the environmental impacts of that system.
Phase 3 – Third -party verification is completed by MDARD upon farmers request. MDARD verifies the farm has met the requirements of Phase 1 and 2, the State’s Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices (GAAMPs) are being followed, and the farm has implemented practices specific to system requirements. To maintain verified status, farms are reverified every five years.
Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state. As a result, a one-size-fits-all approach to environmental protection simply does not work on Michigan farms. MAEAP effectively overcomes this challenge by offering areas of concentration known as systems. Each system focuses on a different aspect of farming operation. Farmers can become verified in all systems applicable to their farm. The systems are:
Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat
MAEAP was developed by a coalition of agriculture farmers, commodity groups, state and federal agencies, and conservation and environmental groups. While the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is the verifying agency, MAEAP is also a partnership effort.
MAEAP teaches farmers how to identify and prevent environmental risks and work to comply with State and Federal Environmental Regulations. Farmers who successfully complete the three phases of a MAEAP system are rewarded by becoming verified in that system.