The Tech Center earned Farming, Cropping, and Livestock verifications for demonstrating to state inspectors the CTC programs engage in cost-effective pollution prevention practices and comply with state and federal environmental regulations.
Tony McCaul, the program’s instructor, said he currently teaches students about the MAEAP verification process and uses many of the MAEAP verified best practices with students in his classes.
“To become officially certified was the next step in the process,” he said.
McCaul decided to pursue verification after he was encouraged to apply by former Tech Center student Sara Bronkema who is a technician for the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts.
“One of the first goals I set when I started as the Ottawa County MAEAP technician in December was to help the CTC Agriculture and Animal Science program achieve MAEAP verification,” Bronkema said. “I knew Mr. McCaul wanted to get the program verified for a number of years, so we just had to find the time to walk through the verification process.”
MAEAP verification requires applicants to attend an educational seminar, conduct a thorough on-farm risk assessment, and develop and implement an action plan addressing potential environmental risks. The Michigan Department of Agricultural and Rural Development then performs an on site inspection to verify program requirements.
To remain a MAEAP verified farm, inspections are conducted every five years. McCaul added working and learning in a MAEAP verified environment helps students’ applications stand out when applying for jobs and admission into schools in the agriculture industry, as they can be a part of ensuring the schools verifications stay up to date.
“A part of the curriculum will be maintaining the MAEAP criteria. Students will leave our program with prior experience in MAEAP verification processes and the hands-on knowledge of how to maintain the high standards required,” he said. “Giving high school student’s practical experience with state-regulated practices offers learning opportunities they would have a hard time finding anywhere else.
“Applying for and receiving verification is a free, voluntary process. I’m proud to work in a facility that recognizes the importance of environmentally responsible practices and look forward to instilling these values into my students as well.”
Bronkema said it was amazing to see how much the program has grown since she was a student there.
“I’m happy I had the opportunity to return to the Holland area and work with producers like Mr. McCaul who have a desire to enhance and protect Michigan’s resources and teach the next generation of agriculture professionals,” she said.
Operated by Ottawa Area ISD, Careerline Tech Center prepares high school juniors and seniors for tomorrow's workforce by providing career and technical education in more than 25 career areas.
CTC serves students from public and private high schools, as well as those who are homeschooled, within the following local school districts: Allendale, Coopersville, Grand Haven, Hamilton, Holland, Hudsonville, Jenison, Saugatuck, Spring Lake, West Ottawa, and Zeeland.
Visit www.CareerlineTech.org for more information.