Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) supports agricultural producers as they work to protect our natural resources. MAEAP is a voluntary, proactive program that assists producers in assessing their operations and making environmentally and economically sustainable management decisions. It provides producers with technical, confidential advice to reduce the risk of groundwater and surface water contamination.


You can earn:

  • Recognition as a top steward in the community
  • Regulatory protections
  • Preferred consideration for technical assistance and cost share
  • An enduring sense of accomplishment and pride

We promise:

  • The program is 100% confidential, guaranteed by state law
  • We will always treat you and your business with respect
  • We will help you with the paperwork and any red tape
  • We will help you leave a legacy for your children and generations after that

MAEAP Recognition is:

  • Achievable. Farms have earned more than 5000 verifications across the state
  • Something to be proud of and to showcase to your community


MAEAP is for all types and sizes of farms and all commodities – including nursery, greenhouse, fruit, and forestry operations. MAEAP offers verification in four different systems: FarmsteadCroppingLivestock, and Forest, Wetlands and Habitat. To become verified, producers work with the Ottawa Conservation District to complete the program in four steps:

  1. Learn: Attend a MAEAP educational event approved for Phase 1 certification, or review educational materials at your own pace.
  2. Evaluate: Invite the Ottawa County MAEAP technician to tour your farm. They will explain the program and recommend practical steps you can take to meet program standards and your own stewardship goals.
  3. Implement: Do the work at your own pace. Our MAEAP technician is here to help you every step of the way and can direct you to cost share and expert help, if you want.
  4. Recognition: Once the work is complete, you can contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. A verifier from MDARD will visit your farm to ensure the recommended practices are in place and address erosion and runoff risks on your land. When the work is done, we will give you a sign to place on your farm and send you a certificate signed by the Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Request your free, confidential farm visit today

MAEAP Cost Share Program

The Ottawa Conservation District is offering producers the opportunity to apply for cost share on management practices or farmstead improvements to help offset the cost of specific environmental risk reduction practices. This program is intended for those participants working toward MAEAP goals on their farm. Find more information and the application here.

Well Water Testing

Drinking water wells should be tested at least once a year for bacteria and nitrates, both of which can have adverse health effects. The Ottawa Conservation District is working in conjunction with MAEAP to offer a free screening of drinking water samples for nitrates. This service is open to anyone who uses a personal well for drinking water.

**Please check back for the 2021 testing date**

Cultivating Resilience: A Comprehensive Farmer’s Field Day

The 2nd annual Cultivating Resilience Farm Field day took place at Dykhuis Farms in August of 2021. It was a great event with almost 100 attendees. The event showcased new and emerging practices that promote soil health, giving producers practical conservation knowledge that they can use to evaluate their operations. There were on-site demonstrations that showcased different varieties of cover crops and how they respond to West Michigan’s microclimate.

Our keynote speaker was Léa Vereecke, an Organic Farm Consultant with the Rodale Institute, who spoke on her research and experience utilizing a roller-crimper to terminate cover crops, discussing the challenges and benefits of incorporating this tool into a farm’s toolbox when it comes to weed suppression and soil health. Break-out session speakers included Frank Schroyer and Sarena Prince, who discussed the Farmland and Water Quality Conservation Initiative and the Thornapple-Kalamazoo Water Quality Partnership. Leslie Fisher, from the Benton County Soil and Water Conservation District in Indiana, led a session on measuring field sustainability and conservation economics. 

As agriculture in West Michigan faces continued challenges – from extreme rainfall to groundwater shortages – cultivating resilience in our agricultural community is essential.

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