Increased funding for Michigan environmental assurance program

A new pesticide and fertilizer fee structure in Michigan has generated additional funding for the state’s voluntary environmental assurance program for farmers.

Jim Johnson with the Michigan Department of Agriculture tells Brownfield reauthorization of the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) restructured how funds are generated and has created about $700,000 to one million dollars each year of increased revenue.  “The ultimate payer of that fee is the farmers.  It’s important to understand that MAEAP is really all about helping the farmers to do a better job of using pesticides and fertilizers in order to mitigate the potential for environmental impacts.”  Johnson says most of the funding is used for technical assistance to help farmers implement best management practices and the additional dollars will provide more assistance across the state as well as in highly sensitive areas.

He says the renewed legislation also called for the creation of a database that will help visualize where farmers are making environmental improvements in watersheds.  “The database is going to help allow us with commodities who are trying to meet sustainability requests on part of their buyers, helping them to tell that story.”

Johnson says there are currently almost 3,800 MAEAP verifications in the state with the goal of 6,000 in the next three years.

Brownfield spoke with Johnson during the MAEAP Partners Meeting.

AUDIO: Interview with Jim Johnson

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