MACD News Blog

Van Buren Conservation District Recognized

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Van Buren Conservation District recognized for dedicated work with local farmers

Bellaire, MI - At the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts Annual Convention, the Van Buren Conservation District was honored with the MAEAP Grant Host of the Year award from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The Award was given for the continued support for the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) and the programs push to help Michigan farmers become, and continue to be, better stewards of the land. Van Buren Conservation District staff attended the conference and accepted the honorable award in front of representatives from other Conservation District, as well as representatives from various state and federal agencies. "We are pleased to have received this award. We have a great team here at the Van Buren Conservation District. Our staff is very knowledgeable and hardworking but the real recognition should go to the farmers across Michigan that are working hard not only for the production of crops but the effort that is being made to change their operation and practices to help keep our environment clean and safe." says AJ Brucks, Executive Director.

The goal of the MAEAP Program is to offer free, confidential, and non-regulatory farm assessments that assist farmers in complying with state and federal laws and Michigan Right to Farm guidelines. The assessments evaluate practices on the farm such as fertilizer, fuel and pesticide storage and practices that take place in the field such as pesticide and fertilizer application, irrigation utilization and overall recordkeeping.

Practices found with the potential to cause adverse environmental impacts are logged in as a "to-do list" for the producer and MAEAP technicians to complete. When a potential impact is reduced it is known as a "Risk Reduction".  Risk Reductions can be the closing of an unused well, pouring a concrete pad for the transfer of fuels, or erecting a building designed specifically for fertilizer and pesticide storage.

Once a farm has completed their "to-do list" and reduced their impacts on environmental concerns, meaning they are doing the best they can to keep water quality, soil quality and overall health of their farm to the best standard possible, they can then become MAEAP Verified by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. A MAEAP Verification is recognition from the State that all practices, procedures and operations done on the farm are environmentally sound according to Michigan' s Generally Accepted Agricultural Practices (GAAMPS). Producers obtaining this Verification may choose to post a sign at their farm site to let friends, neighbors, and customers know that environmental stewardship is important to the farm owners and operators.  "MAEAP verification on the farm takes time and hard work; our farmers are making good conscious decisions about their practices to help protect our community," states Kyle Mead, Van Buren Conservation District's MAEAP technician. "You may recognized the blue, green and white sign that reads MAEAP Verified throughout Van Buren County and across Michigan".

The Van Buren Conservation District has been a partner and grant host for MAEAP since the program began in 2000. Van Buren Conservation District is one the top Districts in the state, ranked in the top five Counties for MAEAP Farm Verifications, they also holds many educational field days for farmers, recycling events for homeowners, river cleanups, plant and tree sales.

For more information about MAEAP or the Van Buren Conservation District visit www.vanburencd.org or call 269-657-4030 ext. 5.

MACD Honors Stephen Shine with Friend of Conservation Award

Thursday, November 05, 2015

EAST LANSING – The Michigan Association of Conservation Districts (MACD) honored Stephen Shine, Conservation Programs Unit Manager with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) with the 2015 Friend of Conservation Award on Tuesday, October 27th.  The award, presented during the MACD Annual Convention held in Bellaire, recognizes an individual, business, organization or agency who partners with Conservation Districts to help Michigan citizens conserve their lands and Michigan's natural resources.


MACD annually presents the Friend of Conservation Award to recognize the outstanding contributions of an individual or organization for their efforts to improve the public’s understanding of natural resource conservation, for participation in resource management practices in cooperation with a Conservation District, and to further the mission of Michigan Conservation Districts as the local providers of natural resource management services that help our citizens conserve their lands and our state’s resources for a cleaner, healthier, and economically stronger Michigan. 

“MACD is pleased to honor Steve Shine, a long time advocate of Conservation Districts, with the 2015 Friend of Conservation Award”, said Lori Phalen, MACD Executive Director.  “Steve’s conservation roots run deep from the beginning of his career in a local District office to his current position with MDARD.  Many of today’s programs delivered by Conservation Districts come from the ideas he developed, all with the goal of promoting the stewardship of our natural resources.  Steve understands the need for conservation and preservation and in the power of Conservation Districts to deliver.”

The Environmental Stewardship Division within MDARD oversees Michigan Conservation Districts and the state programs delivered by Conservation Districts.  Steve Shine as Conservation Programs Manager manages a number of programs including the Forestry Assistance Program, Hunting Access Program, Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, and the Habitat Incentive Program, working closely with Conservation Districts to deliver these programs at the local level.   

Michigan Conservation Districts are special purpose units of government, governed by a locally elected five-member board of directors who provide leadership to the District’s activities and programs.  Michigan has 78 Conservation Districts providing all 83 counties with locally-based natural resource assistance and services to help our citizens conserve their lands and our environment for a cleaner, healthier, and economically stronger Michigan.  For more information about the work of Michigan Conservation Districts and the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, please visit www.macd.org.  For more information about MDARD’s Environmental Stewardship Division, please visit www.michigan.gov/mdard.





Herb Smith Named MACD Director of the Year

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

EAST LANSING – The Michigan Association of Conservation Districts (MACD) honored Herb Smith, Chairman of the Monroe Conservation District, with the 2015 Director of the Year Award on Tuesday, October 27th.  The award, presented during the MACD Annual Convention held in Bellaire, honored Herb Smith for his outstanding support, advocacy and leadership in natural resource conservation at the local level.

The Director of the Year is named annually by MACD to recognize the outstanding contributions of a Conservation District director; one who has provided strong leadership, advocacy and promotion of conservation practices within the community.  

MACD is pleased to honor Herb Smith with the 2015 Director of the Year Award,” said Lori Phalen, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts.  “Herb strongly supports the Monroe Conservation District and the role of Conservation Districts state-wide.  He is a conservation advocate, volunteering his time and talents and holding leadership positions at the local and state levels.  Herb walks the talk, implementing the conservation practices he advocates for by practicing no-till farming and maintaining buffer strips along the waterways on his farm; and achieving Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) verification for his 900 acre operation in 2013.  Herb is a true steward of our environment and an integral part of Michigan’s conservation community and we are pleased to honor him with this award.”

Michigan Conservation Districts are special purpose units of government, governed by a locally elected five-member board of directors who provide leadership to the District’s activities and programs.  Michigan has 78 Conservation Districts providing all 83 counties with locally-based natural resource assistance and services to help our citizens conserve their lands and our environment for a cleaner, healthier, and economically stronger Michigan.

For more information about the work of Michigan Conservation Districts and the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, please visit www.macd.org.  For more information about the Monroe Conservation District and their programs, please visit www.monroecd.org.




District Manager Retreat Held in Cadillac

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

More than 30 district managers from Conservation Districts around the state gathered at the Evergreen Resort in Cadillac last Thursday and Friday for the third annual Retreat co hosted by MACD and the Michigan Association of Conservation District Employees (MACDE). Special guest Patrice Martin, Nonprofit Leadership Coach with the Nonprofit Network led the  activities. Focused on best practices for acquiring and applying new information, the highly interactive sessions provided the attendees with practical approaches to work related issues. Responses from participants were favorable. According to Charmaine Lucas, district manager for Osceola/Lake – Mecosta Conservation Districts, ”the retreat was well worth the time and effort. I feel like I’m leaving with new techniques and concepts that will definitely help me do my job more effectively.”

"MACD is pleased to be working with MACDE to provide district managers with quality information and tools to help them in their work," state Lori Phalen, Executive Director of MACD.  "District managers are on the front lines, guiding programs and activities to address the conservation needs within their communities.  They are a dedicated group of individuals and we are pleased to support their work through programs such as this event."