Michigan growers can participate in the statewide Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) and a plastics recycling program.
Run by Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA), MAEAP is a confidential, voluntary, non-regulatory program that allows growers to chart a path toward environmental assurance for their greenhouse system. The initiative is part of the Michigan Groundwater Stewardship Program.
MAEAP verification demonstrates growers are using environmentally sound management practices, helping to foster community relations.
MAEAP verifies that applicable Right-to-Farm practices are in place, providing nuisance liability protection.
MAEAP verification demonstrates greenhouse crop growers have used effective tools for assessing and correcting environmental risks.
MAEAP-verified greenhouse crop growers are recognized as outstanding environmental stewards and are eligible for cost-share incentives, tax credits, low-cost lending and reduced liability insurance premiums from participating companies.
Phase 1 is education. Phase 2 is an on-farm risk assessment. And phase 3 is third-party verification requested by the grower. MAEAP farms require MDA verification every three years to maintain good standing in the program.
For more information, visit www.maeap.org.
On the recycling front, Thomas Dudek, district Extension horticulture and marketing educator in Grand Haven, Mich., has organized a program for growers to recycle used greenhouse and nursery plastics. The plastics include row covers, greenhouse film, nursery pots, greenhouse/nursery trays or flats and trickle irrigation tubing. At least five local companies are identified as recyclers interested in these plastics. Some will pay growers for the recycled materials.