Van Buren Conservation District

MAEAP – Agricultural Program

Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program

The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) is an innovative, proactive program that helps farms of all sizes and all commodities voluntarily prevent or minimize agricultural pollution risks.

You can earn

  • Recognition as a top steward in the community
  • Regulatory protections
  • Preferred consideration for technical assistance and cost-share
  • An enduring sense of accomplishment and pride
  • Restricted Use Pesticide Credits

We promise

  • The program is 100% confidential, guaranteed by state law
  • We will treat you and your business with respect
  • We will help you with the paperwork and the process
  • We will help your farm conformance with state and federal environmental laws and guidelines
  • We will help you leave a legacy for your children

MAEAP recognition is

  • Achievable, Thousands of farms have earned this designation already
  • Something to be proud of a to showcase to your community

MAEAP provides educational, technical, and financial assistance to agricultural producers and landowners to identify and reduce erosion and runoff from private land into public waters, and reduce groundwater and surface water contamination risks.

The program encourages individuals to take voluntary, proactive steps to protect Michigan’s water quality and, therefore the quality of drinking water.  Agricultural producers who participate in the program can become environmentally assured through the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program

The program includes four steps for agriculture producers

  1. Attend an educational workshop approved for Phase I certification or watch approved videos/webinars, and read articles to meet the education requirement. Online Educational Sessions Available.
  2. Invite a local MAEAP technician to tour your farm. Van Buren County’s MAEAP Tech is Kyle Mead. Kyle can be reached at or 269-657-4030×5.
  3. Implement practices recommended by the MAEAP technician. Kyle will help you work through recommended management and practices on your farm, he will brain storm ideas, and provide resources for additional steps you may need. There may be cost-share options through the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Services Farm bill programs or with the Van Buren Conservation District.
  4. Earn recognition for your work. When you are ready, you and Kyle will invite our local MAEAP Verifier to your farm for final verification. Farmers who earn MAEAP recognition will receive a sign to place on their farm.

MAEAP has four systems that address different aspects of the farm: Farmstead, Cropping, Livestock, and Forest, Wetlands & Habitat Systems. Each looks at different practices depending on site-specific management and production practices and associated risks. Farms can receive one or all of the System Verification.

Environmental Risk Assessments

Farmstead System

The Farmstead System Assessment (Farm*A*Syst) is an environmental risk assessment on any size, type, or commodity farm and of all management practices, structures, and site conditions at the farm headquarters. The assessment helps producers identify and reduce risks to both groundwater and surface water supplies. Evaluated practices within the Farm*A*Syst include; fuel storage, pesticide storage, fertilizer storage, and wellhead protection.  

Cropping System

The Cropping System Assessment (Crop*A*Syst) reviews production practices that occur wherever crops are grown on the farm. It reviews risks associated with pesticide and nutrient application, erosion control, and record keeping.  The Crop*A*Syst focuses on field-based activities such as water use, soil conservation, and nutrient management. This category applies to all crops grown in Michigan. These include field crops, vegetables, fruit orchards, greenhouse crops, and ornamental trees. 

Livestock System

The Livestock System Assessment (Livestock*A*Syst) reviews practices related to livestock production activities. This includes nutrient management, manure storage, transfer and land application, record keeping, feed storage, erosion, and lot management. Livestock*A*Syst relates to all types of livestock produced on the farm regardless of the animal raised or their size.

Forest, Wetland & Habitat System

The Forest, Wetland, and Habitat System Assessment reviews management practices relating to areas on the farm with woodlands, wetland, and other types of managed habitats. This review looks at the management plans created for all of these land uses to promote and ensure sustainable practices are being implemented. This includes forest health, protecting air, water, and soil; and restoring habitat.

Additional Services

  • Soil Sampling – Soil testing is an  important diagnostic tool to evaluate nutrient imbalances and understand plant growth. Borrow a soil probe and send in a Soil Test
  • Nitrate/Nitrite Well Water Screening
  • Irrigation Reporting – Landowners and Industries with the capacity to withdraw over 100,000 gallons per day (with one or combined sites) are required to report to the state the water withdrawals and water conservation practices of their pumps. Report your Water Use
  • Irrigation Scheduling – The process of determining when to irrigate and how much water to apply, based upon measurements or estimates of soil water or water used by the plant. Borrow irrigation scheduling equipment
  • Closing Abandoned Wells – Abandoned wells pose a health risk by acting as a conduit for contaminated surface water to move directly down to drinking water aquifers.
  • Emergency Farm Planning – Emergency plans provide vital information for farm workers, first responders, and other emergency service providers  if an emergency occurs. The plans also assist producers with the important issue of agri-chemical and application equipment security. “Emergency Planning on the Farm”
  • Right to Farm Complaints – If you have received a Right to Farm Complaint about your farm Kyle can come out and evaluate your system and help with the resolution of any issues.
  • Assistance with Equipment Lending/Rental Program

Van Buren County MAEAP Verified Farms as of 3/1/19

  • 8th Avenue Farm – Bob O’Brien – South Haven
  • A&A’s Little Red Shed Farm Market – Andrew Nesbitt – Lawton
  • Alaga Farms – Mike Alaga – Decatur
  • Arthur Thomas Farm – Art Thomas – Grand Junction
  • Badger Evergreen Nursery, LLC. – Lawrence Farm – Lawrence
  • Barry Baser Farm – Brad Baser – Bangor
  • Bautista Blueberry Farm – Pedro Bautista – Bangor
  • BMP Farms – Gayle Branch – Covert
  • Cardemon – True Blue Farms – Dennis and Shelly Hartmann – Grand Junction
  • Carol Baber Farm – Carol Baber – Covert
  • Cedar Creek Farms – Jason Hartmann – Covert
  • Cherry Bay Orchards – Kurt Dowd – Hartford
  • Chuck Felcyn Farm – Chuck Felcyn – Paw Paw
  • Cornerstone Ag Enterprises – Tom, Larry Bodtke and Kay Trevino – Grand Junction
  • Covert Farm – Blue Star Farms, Inc. – Tony Marr – Covert
  • Cronenwett Farms  – Brian Cronenwett – Lawton
  • D&B Farms – Doug and Beth Kuhn – South Haven
  • D.L. Thomas Farm – Don and Laura Thomas – Covert
  • David Alcaraz Farm – David Alcaraz – Covert
  • De Leo Farm Produce – Doug De Leo – Bangor
  • DeGrandchamp’s Blueberry Farm – Joe, Mike, Bob, and Katelyn DeGrandchamp – Paw Paw
  • Dorr Farms – Charles Dorr – Lawrence
  • Douglas Tree Farm – Michael and Wendy Douglas – Bloomingdale
  • Dykhuis Farms, Inc. – South Haven
  • Egly Land & Cattle Co. – Bob Egly – Paw Paw
  • Ellis Farms – Mary Ellis – Grand Junction
  • Frego Farms – Jerry Frego – Paw Paw
  • Fritzs’ Farms, LLC – Dan Fitzstephens – Mattawan
  • Galen’s Blueberries – Karlis Galens – Covert
  • Gene Sahr Farm – Gene Sahr – Paw Paw
  • Hemenway Farm, LLC – Matt RIggs – Lawton
  • Holtzman Blueberries – Mark Holtzman family – South Haven
  • Heinze Farm – Holtzman Blueberries – Mark Holtzman family – South Haven
  • Hunt Farms – James and Coleman Hunt – Lawton
  • Hunter Family Farm – Kelly Vander Kley – Mattawan
  • Hunt’s Hillside, LLC – James and Michael Hunt – Lawton
  • Jackson Family Farm – Mike and Sally Jackson – Marcellus
  • Jones Farm – Gary Jones – Paw Paw
  • Jubilee Blueberry Farms, LLC – Russel and Cheryl Sullins  – Bangor
  • Kovach Farm Moss Funnel Farms – Frank Corrado – Gobles
  • Lake Cora Vineyard – Bill Johnson – Paw Paw
  • Leduc Blueberries, LLC – Joe and Chantal Leduc – Paw Paw
  • M.B.M. Blueberry Farms, LLC – Mario Bronowicki – Bangor
  • Marcial Lorenzo Farm – Marcial Lorenzo – Covert
  • Matthew and Creela Hamlin Farm – Matthew and Creela Hamlin – Bangor
  • Maria Bautista Farm – Jeronimo Mendez – Bangor
  • Mill Creek Blueberry Farm, Inc. – Deborah & Bob Jones – Watervliet
  • Moss Funnel Farms – Frank Corrado – Bangor
  • Muvrin Farms – Joe Muvrin – Paw Paw
  • Overhiser Farm – True Blue Farms – Dennis and Shelly Hartmann – Grand Junction
  • Patrick E. Hartmann Farm – Patrick Hartmann – Grand Junction
  • Paul Rood Orchards – Paul Rood – Covert
  • Pine Lane Berry Farms, LLC – Scott Vincent and Jim Vanderkolk – South Haven
  • Paulette’s Potting Shed – Paulette and Al Rybarski – Decatur
  • R. & S. Blueberries, LLC – Mike Sullins – Bangor
  • Ray Vales – True Blue Farms – Dennis and Shelly Hartmann – Grand Junction
  • Red Arrow Dairy – Rudold DeJong and Keith Dykstra – Hartford
  • Roedger Bros. Farm – Rich Roedger – Covert
  • Blue J Farm – Roedger Bros Farm – Rich Roedger  – Covert
  • Schultz Farms – Matthew Schultz – Decatur
  • Shades of Lavender Farm, LLC – Janene Rawlinson – Mattawan
  • Sigifredo Morales Farm – Sigifredo Morales – South Haven
  • Spicebush Creek Farms – Mike Hill – South Haven
  • Steadfast Farm, LLC – Brian Morga – South Haven
  • Steve & Anita Friend Farm – Anita Friend – Covert
  • Stokes Blueberry Farm, LLC – Megan Stokes – Grand Junction
  • Straight Line Red Angus – Mike and Casey Bozung – Bangor
  • Sunridge Farms – David Adent – Hartford
  • Tavolacci Blueberries – Sam Tavolacci – Watervliet
  • True Blue Farms – Dennis and Shelly Hartmann – Grand Junction
  • Valley View Farm of Bangor – Steven Otto – Bangor
  • Van Buren Conservation District – Hayden Woods – Kyle Mead – Paw Paw
  • Wendzel Farm – Blue Star Farms, Inc. – Tony Marr – South Haven
  • Windshadow Farm and Dairy, LLC – Ronald Klein – Bangor

Accomplishments & Environmental Outcomes

Through the efforts by producers like the Verified Farmers in Van Buren County, over 2,500 verifications have been completed in Michigan.  These 2,500 verifications has saved 32,000-10 yard dump trucks of sediment from reaching water bodies each year and found that over 600,000 acres of land receiving pesticides have made applications under an approved Pest Management Plan.  Along with sprays and sediment being controlled, there have also been 14,000 acres of filter strips installed and the amount of Phosphorus and Nitrogen reduced through the actions of MAEAP and it’s participants could have grown a 1/4 inch thick blanket of algae that could cover Houghton Lake (Houghton Lake is the largest inland lake in Michigan)

Information collected from MAEAP verified farms used to calculate environmental outcomes:

  • 1,430,917 acres included in a nutrient plan or CNMP
  • 257,520 linear feet of buffer/filter strips
  • 209,017 acres of cover crops
  • 672,205 acres of conservation tillage
  • 427,024 acres of no-till, zone-till, or grass cover
  • 5,836 number of gullies stabilized
  • 497,408 feet of livestock exclusion from water bodies
  • 193 acres of silage pad
  • 1,478,743 acres of Pest Mangement Plans

Sediment Reduced: 2,131,667 lbs
Phosphorus reduced: 3,545,971 lbs
Nitrogen reduced: 7,746,249 lbs

Related Partners & Resources

GROUNDWATER – Everyone’s Resource, Everyone’s Responsibility