MACD News Blog

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  For more information about the Monroe Conservation District and their programs, please visit

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."


USDA Accepting More Farmland for Wildlife Habitat in Michigan

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Michigan Farm Service Agency (FSA) has announced that an additional 3,500 acres of agricultural land in Michigan is eligible for funding for wildlife habitat restoration. 

The initiative, known as State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE), is part of the USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a federally-funded voluntary program that for 30 years has assisted agricultural producers with the cost of restoring, enhancing and protecting certain grasses, shrubs and trees to improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and reduce loss of wildlife habitat. In return, USDA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. CRP has helped farmers and ranchers prevent more than 8 billion tons of soil from eroding, reduce nitrogen and phosphorous runoff relative to cropland by 95 and 85 percent respectively, and even sequester 43 million tons of greenhouse gases annually, equal to taking 8 million cars off the road. 

In total, up to 400,000 acres of additional agricultural land will be eligible for wildlife habitat restoration funding through this SAFE announcement. The additional acres are part of an earlier CRP wildlife habitat announcement made by Secretary Vilsack. Currently, more than 1 million acres, representing 98 projects, are enrolled in SAFE nationwide.

“This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Conservation Reserve Program, which has not only resulted in significant soil and water improvements, but also greater populations of waterfowl, gamebirds and other wildlife native to the rural countryside,” said Christine White, Michigan FSA Executive Director. “Here in Michigan, 10,000 acres in the Michigan Diverse Grassland and 3,500 acres in the Michigan Native Pollinator projects are designed specifically to increase pollinator and grassland bird habitat. Since it was first established in 2008, farmers and ranchers have enrolled approximately 6,500 acres, showing a positive population trend on enrolled acreage in these focus areas. We hope to continue this progress by offering interested farmers and ranchers the opportunity to enroll another 3,500 acres in this project.”

Landowners and producers are encouraged to learn more about the program through their local Conservation District and FSA County office.  To learn more the 30th anniversary of CRP and to review 30 success stories throughout the year, click here or follow Twitter at #CRPis30.  Additionally, more information about FSA conservation programs is available by visiting the FSA website

Michigan Conservation Districts support SAFE and the many conservation programs made available through the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill was reauthorized in 2014 and builds on past the Farm Bill success, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. For more information on Michigan Conservation Districts, visit the MACD website.  For more information on the 2014 Farm Bill, visit

MAEAP Funding Secure

Monday, June 22, 2015

A big thank you to everyone in the conservation and agriculture communities in Michigan for all your efforts in support of the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) over the last several months.

The MAEAP legislation which has worked its way through the legislature was passed on Thursday, June 18th and sent on to the Governor's desk for signature.

We appreciate your strong support and your calls to legislators in support of the program and MAEAP funding.  We look forward to continuing our work with Michigan Conservation Districts as the delivery system for the technical assistance provided to farmers and landowners through this program and working with stakeholders as partners to continue growing MAEAP for the benefit of Michiganders and our natural resources.  

MACD would also like to thank Representative Dan Lauwers, District 81 for his leadership in sponsoring the original legislation, House Bill 4391, a compromise version of which passed through the Senate on June 18th.  And, we would like make special note of the leadership of Director Jamie Clover Adams and her staff at the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, they provided significant leadership and support throughout the lengthy legislative process.

MAEAP is an extremely important program for Michigan's agriculture community. This innovative, proactive program helps farms of all sizes and all commodities voluntarily prevent or minimize agricultural pollution risks.  Created in Michigan, by Michigan's farmers, commodity groups, conservation and environmental groups, and state and federal agencies, MAEAP provides a systems approach for farmers and landowners to understand management options that will help to protect and enhance their operation and the quality of our natural resources.   To learn more about MAEAP, visit