Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program

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

MAEAP is comprehensive and voluntary, designed to reduce farmers' legal and environmental risks through a three-phase process: 1) education; 2) farm-specific risk assessment; and 3) on-farm verification that ensures the farmer has implemented environmentally sound practices. 

Michigan Conservation Districts deliver the program at the local level through the Conservation District’s water stewardship technicians.  Assistance takes many forms including educational MAEAP meetings, working hand in hand with a farmer to examine different aspects of the farm through the MAEAP risk assessment tools to the implementation of environmentally sound practices to reduce identified risks. 

The MAEAP program is well received by farmers because it helps the farmer maximize his investment of both time and money, helping to balance efficient production while being a good steward of the land. 


David and Clinton Smeltzer’s MAEAP journey is a good example the MAEAP process and how it benefited their operation. The MAEAP process took the Smeltzer's four years, beginning with initial conversations to final verification in the Cropping System.  The process has helped them to develop an annual nutrient management plan, upgrade the farm’s record keeping system and bring their pesticide storage facility up to GAAMPS and Right to Farm Standards. Murray Stall, the Manistee Conservation District water stewardship technician provided the Smeltzers with information and assistance that led them through the process and also helped them to engage in the Conservation Stewardship Program, a proactive incentive payment program through the USDA-NRCS. 

MAEAP Verification CertificateWe have an obligation and responsibility to be good stewards of the land,” said David. “Now with MAEAP, we have the opportunity to showcase to the public the good environmental practices that we have been doing privately for a long time.” 

MAEAP has a goal of achieving 6000 verifications by 2020 and we look forward to steadily increasing the MAEAP verifications to reach this milestone!

Michigan’s 77 Conservation Districts are the local providers of natural resource management services that help our citizens conserve their lands and our environment for a cleaner, healthier, economically stronger Michigan.

The Michigan Association of Conservation Districts represents the interests of Michigan Conservation Districts and works to strengthen Districts through leadership, information and representation at the state level and is a proud and active member of the MAEAP partnership.

David and his father are now working on several other projects with the goal of becoming MAEAP verified in the Farmstead System. “The two most important words within the MAEAP program title are Environmental and Assurance, said David. “the environmental assurance of our farm and management practices through the MAEAP program show that we indeed are good stewards of the land.”