Burch Family Farms

Warren County, Iowa

Years in Operation:
The Burch Farm has been in the family for several decades with current generation granted ownership in 2016.

Leading Harvest Program User:
Mollie Aronowitz, Peoples Company

Size of Operation:
94 Acres

Crop Type:
Corn-Soybean Rotation

Objective 7. Conservation of Biodiversity

To manage farmland in a manner that maintains agricultural production while conserving biodiversity where appropriate or legally required.


Indicator 7.2.1 Native Habitats and Natural Communities:
Maintenance or conservation of native habitats and natural communities in areas not used for agricultural production.

Indicator 7.2.3 Cropland for Wildlife Habitat:
Application of regional agricultural best management practices on cropland to create temporary wildlife habitat where appropriate. Examples could include, but are not limited to, no-till practices, cover cropping, adding soil amendments made up of organic matter, bird boxes, soil erosion control structures (e.g., grassed waterways), delayed mowing, intercropping, seeding areas with native grassland seed mixes, tailwater recovery ponds managed as wetlands, and water level management of rice fields for waterbirds.

Leading Harvest Indicators at Work

  • 12 Acres in USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) containing a mix of small grains, grasses, forbs and legumes designed for quail and upland bird species.
  • Extensive system of permanent grassland terraces across the farm, as well as timber acreage and a small pond.
  • Cover crops planted each fall, typically cereal rye (perennial) after corn and oats (winter kill) after soybeans.  The corn-soybean rotation is no-till.
The above picture is soybeans coming up with corn residue present from previous year. The cereal rye cover crop planted the previous fall has been terminated but can be seen in the background.
Above picture show CRP acres mid summer.

“Did you know?”

  • This farm has received cost share dollars from non-profit organization Practical Farmers of Iowa for its annual cover crops.
  • This user saw an increase in its profitability as a direct result of setting aside less productive acreage to conserve wildlife habitats.