This is the Special English Agriculture Report.
A big red barn is probably one of the first things most Americans would
think of if you asked them to imagine a farm. And not a modern metal barn, but a
building made of wood like the ones in the old days.
A barn is where farmers keep animals and equipment. Over time, as fewer and
fewer people worked the land, more and more barns were torn down to make way for
developers. Others that remained might have fallen into poor condition.
Or perhaps they just no longer satisfy the needs of a modern farmer. Keeping
an old barn in good condition might not be seen as worth the cost if it does not
serve much purpose. But Americans with historic barns are being urged to save
The magazine Successful Farming and the National Trust for Historic
Preservation are working together on a program called Barn Again! The National
Trust is a nonprofit organization that works to protect places of historic
importance in America.
The Barn Again! program advises hundreds of barn owners every year. Awards
are given for the projects that best succeed at restoring a barn for continued
farm use. Winning buildings are used to demonstrate methods of preservation.
The organization suggests how problems with things like stone and concrete
block foundations can be fixed. With many old barns, the foundation they are
built on is falling apart. Barn Again! also offers advice for other repairs,
like how to replace siding and how to use a power washer to remove loose paint.
And farmers are given suggestions about how to estimate costs.
Leo Fitzpatrick of Beaverton, Michigan, won the 2004 Barn Again! Award. He
made one improvement at a time. The work took more than nine years. He did it
himself, even though for a while he held another job in addition to farming. He
says it cost him fourteen thousand dollars, much less than a new barn of similar
The improvements included strengthening the barn. There are no structural
supports inside the building; instead, its sides hold it up. Today the barn
holds fourteen thousand bales of hay.
Leo Fitzpatrick says the barn is a lot stronger than when it was new.
His grandfather built it in 1914. And Mister Fitzpatrick says his farm
would not be the same without it.
And that's the VOA Special English Agriculture Report, written by Jerilyn
Watson. To learn more about the Barn Again! program, go to www.unsv.com. I'm