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Agriculture, conservation partners support proposal to continue Michigan environmental protection program

Senate Bill 494 presents opportunities to continue helping farms protect water quality and soil health. Download original

LANSING — A diverse community of agricultural and conservation organizations today announced their support for Senate Bill 494, a proposal introduced by Senator Kevin Daley to continue the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) and renew fees paid by farmers and agribusinesses to support the program.Approximately 3,500 Michigan farms have completed nearly 6,000 on-farm verifications through MAEAP. MAEAP is an innovative, proactive program that for more than 20 years has helped farms of all sizes and commodities voluntarily reduce agricultural pollution risks through education and on-farm assistance.

“This legislation was carefully crafted with input from farmers, commodity representatives, environmental groups, state agencies and others,” said Michigan Farm Bureau President Carl Bednarski. “It positions our farmers to continue improving how we care for the land and water to ensure we can continue farming it for generations to come. This enables us to continue providing nutritious and abundant food to Michigan families.”

“We appreciate Senator Kevin Daley for crafting a common-sense proposal that continues support for environmental stewardship in Michigan agriculture,” said Chuck Lippstreu, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association. “Through fertilizer and pesticide fees, Michigan agriculture contributes millions of dollars annually to support environmental programs in our state. Senate Bill 494 renews these fees, while avoiding any costly new fee increases imposed on farmers and rural businesses.”

“The Nature Conservancy supports the reauthorization of funding for MAEAP,” said Ben Wickerham, Saginaw Bay Soil Health Program Manager. “In our work with farmers across the state our team sees the benefits to producers and the environment of MAEAP every day.”

LINK: Environmental Achievements of MAEAP-verified Farms

Senate Bill 494 presents opportunities to continue helping farms protect water quality and soil health. Specifically, the legislation seeks to:

  • Continue the $1.00/ton fertilizer fee and $270 pesticide registration freshwater fee that generates millions of dollars annually in support for the MAEAP program.
  • Create additional funding sources for incentives to implement on-farm conservation and pollution prevention practices
  • Expand research opportunities into practices that improve soil health, water quality, and economic impacts
  • Clarify funding to support water quality monitoring, cleanup activities, and emergency response to prevent fertilizer or pesticide pollution

Additional partners supporting the legislation include: Cherry Marketing Institute, GreenStone Farm Credit Services, Michigan Allied Poultry Industries, Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, Michigan Bean Commission, Michigan Blueberry Advisory Committee, Michigan Corn Growers Association, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Michigan Pork Producers Association, Michigan Soybean Association

The Michigan Farm Bureau is here to help connect you with farmers and industry experts.To schedule an interview with a MAEAP-verified farmer in your area, contact Jon Adamy, media relations specialist, at (517) 323-6782. 

The experts listed below may also be contacted directly for media inquiries:
Rebecca Park, Michigan Farm Bureau, (517) 679-5346
Chuck Lippstreu, Michigan Agri-Business Association, (616) 265-4698

Date Posted: June 28, 2021