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Iowa barn seeking votes

By Staff | Dec 18, 2009

The Euken family hopes that Iowans will help vote for their barn using the URL pictured.

LEWIS – Though Michelle Euken has a lot on her plate right now, from preparing for her upcoming graduation from Iowa State University to searching for a job, the ag business major has been promoting a unique contest that could help restore her family’s Cass County barn.

“My whole life has been tied to our farm,” said Euken, 22, “and I’m excited that my family’s barn is the first Iowa barn to be involved in this contest.” Euken’s parents, Randy and Jill Euken, remodeled their southwest Iowa barn in the early 1990s to house cattle.

“If we win, our barn will get an extreme makeover. Since our farm will be a Century Farm in 2012, now’s an ideal time to revive the barn.”

The Euken’s barn, in Bear Grove Township, is one of 10 barns in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Maryland, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia that are part of a contest in the Help Grow Your Soup program sponsored by the Campbell Soup Company.

Campbell’s is partnering with the National FFA Organization and the National FFA Alumni to showcase the contributions made by the American farmer by preserving barns and sharing the stories of how food is produced. Each barn’s unique story is conveyed through photographs and videos at: www.helpgrowyoursoup.com/projects.aspx.

The Euken family pose in front of their barn that they hope will be one of five nationwide to get a makeover, compliments of Campbell's Soup Co.

Campbell’s will be preserving five barns chosen by members of the public who vote through the Help Grow Your Soup Website. The contest’s online voting started this fall and will continue until Jan. 5, 2010.

For every vote cast on or before Jan. 5, Campbell will donate $1 (up to $250,000) to the National FFA Organization. This goal has been reached, according to the company.

Barn plays key role in cattle operation

To be considered for the Campbell’s contest, Euken sent in an application detailing the history of the Euken barn, points of interest about the barn, photos of the barn and a description of how the barn is used today.

Euken’s great-great-grandparents purchased the Cass County farm in 1912 and they built the barn in the late 1920s. Originally, the barn was used for hay storage, animal shelter, milking cows and housing horses.

Through the years, the farm remained in the family and was passed on to Euken’s parents, Randy and Jill, who purchased the property in 1987.

In the 1990s, the Euken family remodeled

the barn to fit their farming operation, which includes corn, beans, alfalfa, a cow-calf operation and a cattle feedlot.

“One of the requirements of the contest is that the barn must be a working barn,” said Euken, a former 4-H and FFA member who has 10 cows and operates her own Angus cow-calf herd. “Growing up, I helped my dad do a lot of chores in our barn,” Euken said, “and the barn is still in use today.”

Euken is glad that Campbell’s is using the barn contest to support FFA students and showcase the contributions made by American farmers who grow the foods that go into Campbell’s products.

“We’re proud to give back to the farming community by continuing our support for FFA, which will enable us to preserve five more barns, the iconic symbol of the American farm,” said Eric Christianson, business director at Campbell’s.

Combined with the support previously provided to FFA, Campbell’s has now pledged $500,000 to champion programs in agricultural education that will help high school students become future leaders in the agriculture industry and their communities. “It has become increasingly important to arm our future leaders with knowledge about leading agriculture advancements and sustainable farming practices to ensure quality food is grown,” said Larry Case, National FFA advisor and CEO. “With the support of the Campbell Soup Company, we have an opportunity to educate future leaders in the field and raise awareness for the importance of farming and of knowing the origin of our food.”

If the Euken barn is one of the five winning barns in the Campbell’s contest, it will bring together current FFA members and FFA alumni in the area to work on the remodeling project. “Barns are symbols of our rural heritage, and they are landmarks in Iowa,” Euken said. “This contest offers a great opportunity for my family to preserve our barn for many years to come.”

Contact Darcy Dougherty Maulsby by e-mail at yettergirl@yahoo.com.

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