Developing a Sustainability Plan for

Your Christmas Tree Farm


Grower Certification Guidelines for SERF

The Requirement

certified christmas tree growersA certified farm supports a balanced economic, social and environmentally sustainable Christmas tree operation. Each farm will develop a Sustainability Plan detailing activities in the areas listed below. The farm must demonstrate via an inspection program that the plan is being used, updated and followed in all phases of operations. Inspections will include all farm personnel (employees, family, contractors) involved in operating the tree farm.
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This publication serves as guide for growers preparing a Socially and Environmentally Responsible Farm (SERF) Sustainability Plan. The publication is divided into four parts as follows:

These are provided to assist your preparation. In the end, the plan should be your personal document. The format shown in this document is not mandatory, but is provided for convenience.  Your plan should be a working, changing, growing look at the past and future of your farm.

Part 1
Plan Requirements and Contents

The Principal Plan Sections-

  1. Cover Page(s)
    1. Farm Environmental Policy Goal(s)
    2. List of who has overall responsibility for oversight and implementation of the Sustainability Plan
    3. Basic Farm Information (Also used in the application)
  2. Bio-diversity
    1. Maps/Photos
    2. Protection of natural features, waterways, habitat and promote bio-diversity on the farm
    3. Evaluation of new production areas
    4. Workers understanding of bio-diversity goals
    5. Familiarization with local wildlife (especially those threatened and/or endangered)
  3.  Protection of Soil and Water Resources
    1. Soil maps and records of monitoring
    2. Soil erosion prevention
    3. Water resources identified and impacts assessed
    4. Protective measures developed
  4. Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
    1. Personnel/Contractors trained in IPM Systems
    2. Farm maintains records of pesticides and fertilizers that include target pest, time, location and other pertinent details
    3. Evidence of utilization of IPM in decisions
    4. Employees who handle or apply pesticides are trained in accordance of farm IPM program
    5. Chemical products and fertilizers are stored and handled in compliance with applicable laws
  5. Health and Safety
    1. Person(s) designated and trained to oversee farm health and safety
    2. Employees/Contractors adequately trained for activities performed
    3. Health and Safety risks on the farm are identified and training provided
    4. Any violations have been corrected
    5. First-aid/CPR certifications are present and up-to-date
    6. First aid equipment is readily available and appropriate for type of work.
  6. Community and Consumer Relations
    1. Farm involved in community and industry organizations concerned with wise use/management of natural resources
    2. Farm promotes sustainability education
    3. Tree recycling information provided to customers/community
    4. Measures taken to promote benefits of farm grown Christmas trees