Five North Coast farming operations have been recognized by the American Farmland Trust for adopting conservation practices that have improved the environment.

Included in the trust's Profiles in Stewardship are Benzinger Winery near Glen Ellen; Singing Frogs Farm near Sebastopol; Straus Family Creamery, with operations near Marshall and Petaluma; Fetzer and Bonterra Vineyards in Mendocino County; and Howe Creek Ranch near Rio Dell in Humboldt County.

"These farm leaders clearly show agricultural producers in California care about the environment and are motivated to take positive steps to enhance it," said Andrew McElwaine, the trust's president and CEO. "They also demonstrate the potential benefits of conservation and serve as encouragement for other farmers to adopt the same practices."

The five are among 45 farm operations profiled from 25 California counties. Their case studies can be see online at:

The trust seeks to protect farmland, promote sound farming practices and keep farmers on the land.

— Staff and wire reports