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Notes from the IBF County Rep Meeting

October 31, 2015, 11 – 3

Kelley Agricultural Center, Sharpsville, IN

Approximately 40 county reps attended the meeting from about 27 counties.

Janet Ayres facilitated the discussion. Individuals introduced themselves and told about their interests in barns. It was a diverse group of individuals in terms of occupations and geographic regions of the state.

Janet distributed an up-dated list of county reps and asked individuals to make any changes to address/email/phone numbers.

Janet reviewed the responsibilities of being a county rep as discussed at the July Annual Meeting. She distributed a sheet listing these duties and the ideas that were generated at that time.

At the Annual Meeting, people asked for materials to help identify them as an “official” county rep. In response, President Carolyn Rahe had t-shirts made and distributed them along with IBF stationery, business cards, IBF brochures, and magnetic plates for cars.

Carolyn presented a Power Point presentation (“Preserving One Barn at a Time”) that she uses at local meetings. She will distribute the presentation to the county reps. They are welcome to add barn photographs from their own county and tell their local barn stories. (Carolyn will present this PPt. to the IBF board meeting on 11/14. It will be sent to county reps after this meeting.)

Many ideas and much information were shared throughout the day including the following.

  • IBF should consider membership cards and pursue membership.

  • IBF should do an Annual Report. This will assist in obtaining funders.

  • Mauri Williamson is pursuing $3 Million endowment to enable IBF to grant money to barn owners. Criteria for the grants need to be established.

  • Carolyn announced that IBF is now (as of 10/30) a 501-c-3 organization recognized by the IRS.

  • The names of county reps will be added to the IBF web site.

  • IBF should connect with the Indiana Historical Society and Extension offices.

  • County reps should speak with local organizations about barns in the county. It is important to link with the County Historian.

  • DNR will put owl houses in barns. This may be something to pursue.

  • Land Trusts may be another group to involve in IBF efforts.

  • IBF should have a discussion Forum on the website so county reps can easily exchange ideas and information.

  • It would be valuable to write a human interest story about a barn for the local newspaper.

  • Shirley Willard volunteered to come to your county to talk about round barns for only the cost of gas.

  • Tom Beckman, Farm Indiana, would be a good contact to reach the farming audience.

  • Farmer’s exchange has given great coverage.

  • “Saved” barns and other success stories should be added to the IBF web site.

  • Contractors should be added to the web site. (There is currently a list on the website.)

  • A question was asked about current fundraising activities for IBF. Mac Williams might be interested in assisting.

  • There should be a resource list of speakers and topics that county reps can use.

  • Becca James has a barn display in the Jay County Library.

  • Dorrel Harrison expressed his interest in donating his carved barns as part of a fundraiser.

  • Ed Pollock discussed the inventory of barns that he has done in Wayne County. There are now 619 barns in the inventory. He distributed the inventory form. The photographs are housed on the County Surveyor’s web site to utilize GPS. The objective is to inventory all old barns in the county.

  • Ken Torr (Putnam County) showed the photographs that he has taken in Putnam County. He has a multiple page “book” of photographs, but is having difficulties finding funding sources to produce additional copies.

  • Jeff Jahn (Boone Co.) had several albums of photographs he has taken over the years in Boone, Carroll, Clinton and other counties. He also made reference to a couple of web sites:

    • Vintageaerial.com is a web site with old farm photographs

    • Mail pouch barnstormers is another web site to check out

  • Lynn Corson (Carroll County) shared information about the data now compiled by the county Assessor’s office in regard to the new tax law. For assessment purposes, they can compile a list of all pre-1950 barns using the Provol system. This may be a place to start, although you need to keep in mind that counties use different assessment systems.

  • Someone suggested a gift IBF membership to owners of surveyed barns.

  • Duncan Campbell discussed the county historical sites/archeological inventories conducted by DNR. Each county should have an “Interim Report” in the local library or county historical society. Since 2006, the inventories are electronic and can be searched online (SHAARD). However, barns have not been included in the inventory. The IBF board met with Jeannie Regan-Dinius, director of DNR’s Special Initiatives, responsible for the inventory and it may be possible to have a subset of barns in the inventory in the future.

  • Duncan referred to a good resource book that identifies barn types by cultural influence, Barns, by John Michael Vlach. (I checked on Amazon and it is $63 hardcover).

  • Duncan volunteered to come to your county to speak about barns.

  • The group agreed that it is important to set up criteria for the barn inventory and have consistency. The IBF board will develop an inventory form and this will be the focus of the next county rep meeting.

  • Rhonda Deeg distributed the inventory form used by the American Barn Alliance.

  • Janet summarized many of the ideas of what county reps can do in their respective county:

    • Become familiar with the County Historian, if not already

    • Link with other preservation/historical groups in the county

    • Identify barn owners who are interested in barns

    • Form a small committee to work with you and identify actions

    • Focus on a specific barn with a human interest story and submit it to local news media

    • Invite speakers to your county (Duncan Campbell or Shirley Willard or others)

    • Use Carolyn’s Power Point (adding local photographs) to present to local groups such as Kiwanis, Rotary, Historical Society and others

    • Have a barn display in local library or county museum

    • Wear your t-shirt, promote IBF, recruit new members

  • It was suggested that the group meet quarterly.

  • Janet proposed that at the next meeting that we learn more about barns (architectural style, nomenclature, cultural influences, etc.) with a presentation by Marsh Davis or Duncan Campbell. The IBF board will have a draft inventory form by that time.

  • Shirley Willard invited the group to meet at the Fulton County Historical Museum in March.

Next meeting date will be March 19, 11-3 at the Fulton County Historical Museum at Rochester (just off US 31).