MACD News Blog

USDA Western Lake Erie Basin Announcement

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

United States Department of Agriculture Announcement to Benefit the Western Lake Erie Basin

This week, the USDA announced a new initiative from NRCS to improve water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin. The agency will invest $41 million over a three-year period, in addition to the $36 million from the 2014 Farm Bill. The basin includes areas of Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. These funds will help landowners in the basin remove over 640,000 pounds of phosphorus runoff and prevent over 260,000 tons of sediment loss per year. The initiative will help focus agency investments and help the work that local partners, including Conservation Districts, are doing in the basin. 

NRCS also released a Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) report that shows voluntary, incentive-based conservation is working well in the Western Lake Erie Basin to reduce sediment and nutrient loss in the area. However, more can be done to improve the land through conservation. The improvements could include conservation planning and conservation systems. 

Click Here for the full press release. Click Here for the full CEAP report.

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.