Conservation meeting draws 125 attenders

Prior to the evening program, participants at the 71st annual meeting of the Marion County Conservation District enjoy their meal, which was provided by the Marion County Bankers Association and the MCCD.
Prior to the evening program, participants at the 71st annual meeting of the Marion County Conservation District enjoy their meal, which was provided by the Marion County Bankers Association and the MCCD.
More than 125 producers, award winners and poster contest recipients attended the 71st annual meeting of the Marion County Conservation District on Feb. 18 at Eastmoor United Methodist Church in Marion.

Contestants from Marion County elementary schools followed this year’s theme, “Healthy Soils Are Full of Life,” to assist them in creating their poster.

The two first-place winners in Marion County were Alexandra Carlson in the K-1 grade division, and Luke Isaac in the 4th-6th grade division.

Betty Richmond, who has been with the MCCD for more than 50 years, said first place prize winners in the contest will go on to compete with other first place winners in Topeka.

The election of district officers saw four people vying for two of the board of supervisor seats. Those running for office included Matt Kirkpatrick, Jackie Hett, Mark Voth and Linda Ihde. Voth and Hett received the most votes.

Kansas Barn Alliance

Teresa Huffman, Marion County economic development executive director, and president of the Kansas Barn Alliance, presented a series of slides showing barns in Kansas before and after restoration.

The KBA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving and restoring old historic barns in Kansas, she said.

All the board of directors and advisors serve as volunteers, she said.

Funded by the membership, the organization started in 2003, but the group does have an endowed foundation with Central Kansas Community Foundation.

“Let’s Get Started” grant

KBA has an evaluation grant, “Let’s Get Started,” Huffman said.

Someone might talk with a board member and say: “I have a barn but I don’t know if it is worth saving.”

Or someone might say, “My barn is in desperate need of repairs but I don’t know where to start.”

Huffman said that is what this evaluation grant is all about.

The awarded grantee will receive an evaluation and a priority list of repair needs created by an experienced preservation contractor.

The annual grant of $350 is intended to provide 50 percent of the cost of a structural analysis and repair prioritization list for one barn.

KBA Mission

According to Huffman, the mission of the alliance is in discovering and memorializing the history and architecture of Kansas farms, especially barns.

To discover, purchase, commission or otherwise procure, publish and in any other way preserve writings, newspapers, blueprints, maps, journals and the like which shed light on the history and architecture of Kansas farms, especially barns.

Another part of the mission is in researching, discovering, procuring, purchasing, restoring and assuring the preservation of buildings, and particularly barns.

The KBA holds meetings and other activities for the instruction and information of supporters and the public.

During her presentation, Huffman showed several photos of barns before and after restoration.

Some of the barns might have a new roof, while others were totally refurbished, she said.

“(KBA) just sponsored a film, “The Barnraisers,” and it was displayed in Marion not too long ago,” she said.

Anyone interested in receiving news emails should contact: kansasbarns@­gmail­.com.

“You do not need to be a member to receive these emails,” Huffman said.