Sara Swanson

Dandelion Knoll Farm receives MAEAP verification

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Dandelion Knoll Farm raises goats as well as Partridge Chanteclers, a type of heritage breed chicken.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) is recognizing Dandelion Knoll Farm in Sharon Township for becoming MAEAP verified on January 2nd.  Technical assistance was provided by the Washtenaw County Conservation District MAEAP Technician, Nick Machinski.

Dandelion Knoll Farm received MAEAP verification in both farmstead and livestock systems. Owner and operator Kelly Holden raises Partridge Chanteclers, a heritage chicken breed that is on the Livestock Concervancy.org or Rare Breeds Canada.com lists for endangered or watched breeds. Kelly sells the eggs she collects from her chickens through the Grass Lake Food Revolution.  Her hopes are to expand from eggs to also providing meat and chicks. Dandelion Knoll Farm also raises several goats. The goats graze a small pasture as well as the woody shrubbery around the farmstead. Kelly intends on implementing a rotation of her animals around the farm to work in conjunction with the environment.

“By taking the steps necessary to become an environmentally verified operation, these Washtenaw County farms have contributed to the assurance of sustainable farming practices,” said MDARD Director Jamie Clover Adams. “Michigan is leading the national agriculture community in effective stewardship practices with the voluntary, incentive-based MAEAP program. The continued success of the program demonstrates that environmental sustainability and economic development are not mutually exclusive.”

MAEAP is a collaborative effort of farmers, MDARD, Michigan Farm Bureau, commodity organizations, universities, conservation districts, conservation and environmental groups and state and federal agencies. More than 100 local coordinators and technical service providers are available to assist farmers as they move through the MAEAP process toward verification. An average of 8,000 Michigan farmers attend educational programs annually; 10,000 Michigan farms have started the verification process and more than 3,300 farms have been verified to date.

To become MAEAP verified, farmers must complete three comprehensive steps which include attending an educational seminar, conducting a thorough on-farm risk assessment, and developing and implementing an action plan addressing potential environmental risks. MDARD conducts an on farm inspection to verify program requirements related to applicable state and federal environmental regulations, Michigan Right to Farm guidelines, and adherence to an action plan. When completed, the producer receives a certificate of environmental assurance. To remain a MAEAP verified farm, inspections must be conducted every five years and action steps must be followed.

MAEAP is a multi-year program allowing producers to meet personal objectives, while best managing both time and resources. The program encompasses three systems designed to help producers evaluate the environmental risks of their operation. Each system – Livestock, Farmstead, Cropping, and Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat – examines a different aspect of a farm, as each has a different environmental impact. By participating in all three systems, producers can comprehensively evaluate their entire farming operation for potential environmental risks.

For more information, visit the MAEAP website at www.maeap.org, or contact the Washtenaw County Conservation District MAEAP Technician, Nick Machinski, at 734-205-1218, Nicholas.Machinski@mi.nacdnet.net.

The Washtenaw County Conservation District is a local unit of state government, assisting private landowners, businesses and others, with management of their natural resources in Washtenaw County.

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