Taking Barns for Granted

While flipping through a recent issue of an agriculturally-themed magazine, I was thrilled to catch an article about the preservation of historic barns. This particular story spoke about the number of barns across the country that are in need of major renovation work in order to preserve them and keep them operational for future generations to enjoy. Many of the barnowners or enthusiasts that take on this work are unaware that there are several opportunities available for assistance with the monumental financial undertaking that accompanies the restoration of an historic barn.

Both state and local assistance are available to do-it-yourselfers who endeavor to restore barns. Some barn renovations can take up to 5 years and $25,000 to complete. The federal government, through the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) and the National Park Service, offers tax credit programs for rehabbing historic buildings. One NTHP program called Barn Again! offers expertise ranging from instructions on fixing a stone foundation to explaining how to find credits to help pay for the work.

If you are contemplating the reconstruction of a historic barn, do yourself a favor and visit the website www.preservationnation.org. On that site, details of assistance with funding are available. You can also visit your local extension office or state preservation program to inquire about barn renovation aid. As much as we all enjoy the beauty of reclaimed barnwood furniture in our homes, we must work to preserve the historic structures that are a reminder of our agricultural heritage.

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