Fish Friendly Farming Environmental Certification

Columbine Vineyards is the First Farm in Kern County to receive the Fish Friendly Farming Environmental Certification

Columbine Vineyards, a family‐owned table grape operation in Delano, CA., has received the Fish Friendly Farming (FFF) Environmental Certification. The FFF certification is issued to farm and range properties that are operated with practices that protect water quality and fish and wildlife habitats. The FFF Certification Program is operated by the Napa‐based non‐profit‐ Ca. Land Stewardship Institute (CLSI) and is considered the most difficult environmental certification to acquire.

For the certification all areas of the farm are inspected and documented by the scientists from CLSI for soil conservation practices such as cover crops and conservation tillage, chemical use, storage, mix and load and application methods, water sources and management including conservation, workforce and community policies and practices, recycling and energy conservation and on‐site wildlife habitats. CLSI prepares a farm conservation plan that documents current practices and additional needed practices to bring the site up to the very high standards used in the program. Then the farm plan and site undergo a third‐party, objective certification, in this case by the Kern County Agricultural Commissioner.

The certification found that Columbine Vineyards has a robust Integrated Pest Management Program supporting and releasing green lacewings, a beneficial insect to combat pest insects and reduce the need for pesticides. All vineyards are managed with conservation tillage reducing soil disturbance and erosion and the dust that increases certain pest insect populations. All vineyards use drip irrigation, the most water conserving method available. Columbine Vineyards goes well beyond the FFF program requirements in recycling nearly all its waste including packaging materials.

“For Columbine Vineyards to receive this prestigious environmental certification from CLSI is an honor,” said Martin Caratan, M. Caratan Inc., President. “It is a meaningful acknowledgement of our commitment to farming techniques that protect and enhance the environment.”

The FFF certification is available statewide and particularly prevalent in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. For more information: www.fishfriendlyfarming.org