Public Acts 1 and 2, signed by Governor Rick Snyder in March 2011, solidified the future of the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP). We commend the enactment of legislation protecting farms completing verification in the MAEAP program. It offers MAEAP-verified farms protection from civil fines, a presumption of meeting obligations for watershed pollutant loading determinations, and recognition that discharges from farm fields caused by rainfall are nonpoint source pollution. We urge all farm operators and landowners managing forests, wetlands and habitat to participate in the MAEAP program and complete as many recommendations as possible to help ensure the quality of our air, water and soil is preserved.
With MAEAP in law, Michigan has set a goal to increase the number of MAEAP verifications to 6,000 by the end of 2020. As of June 2020, MAEAP reached 5,666 total on-farm verifications.
Michigan Farm Bureau members should lead the conversation on the definition of sustainable agriculture. We must put programs such as MAEAP and guidelines like the Generally Accepted Agriculture and Management Practices (GAAMPs) front and center, highlighting how farmers today are producing safe and sustainable food, fuel and fiber.