Saving Iowa's Barns
Iowa's countryside is changing. And while many of these changes, such as urban migration and corporate ownership of farmland, are difficult to see, there is one noticeable symbol of rural culture that is disappearing rapidly. It is the barn.
One estimate is that a thousand Iowa barns are falling down every year, from either neglect or the bulldozer. There are many more still standing, but their fate depends on small farmers, the very people least financially able to save them.
Those who care about these buildings have started a rallying cry, "Save the barns; save our history." Among them are the members of the Iowa Barn Foundation. With members in all 99 Iowa counties, this organization has been selecting barns to receive grant money for repairs. There's only one string attached, the matching grant is only given if an easement is signed, providing perpetual care of the barn when ownership changes.
In this special Living in Iowa we'll visit some of the restored barns on the first-ever Iowa Barn Tour, and we'll find out why people are dedicating themselves to saving Iowa's barns.