The Iowa Barn Foundation's county representatives help to promote the preservation of barns, organize the surveying of barns in their counties, encourage membership in the Iowa Barn Foundation, and help with fund raising. Working with members of the board from each of nine areas of the state, they also help to oversee projects.
Shortly after the Iowa Barn Foundation was launched in 1997, board member, Dr.Neil Harl, agricultural economist at Iowa State University, said, "We need to have county representatives - a representative for each county." And, so the Iowa Barn Foundation started recruiting barn-interested folks to take on those jobs. The board started with folks they knew, like dairyman Joe Lyon, Toledo, now in his eighties and still on the board.
The board learned about county representative candidates from tours, from hearsay, and from notes from interested folks inquiring about the foundation. One man called to offer wood from an old barn he was going to take down. He was talked into restoring the glorious, historic family barn as well as being a county representative.
The county representatives encouraged interest in barns, which they saw vulnerable because of the diminished role of barns on farms. Many of the representatives had grown up working in the family barn, and cared that they were preserved so people today would appreciate their history and their important role in making Iowa the premier agriculture state.
These representatives took calls from county residents inquiring about grants given by the Iowa Barn Foundation. They have looked for interesting barns in their county that might be part of a tour or eligible for a grant.
Then the Iowa Barn Foundation started All-State Barn Tours and then County Barn Tours. The first was orchestrated by Winneshiek and Allamakee representatives, Marlene and Duane Fensterman. They worked tirelessly finding historic barns in northeast Iowa. So many folks attended the tour from Iowa and beyond that they ran out of capons that were being served for lunch. The work of the Fenstermans is enduring. Later the New York Times ran a major story on the barns in that area, and people come from everywhere to see the northeast Iowa barns.
⚫ Through the years, county representatives have organized tours in many counties. The Iowa Barn Foundation All-State Barn Tour has become an annual event that folks look forward to enjoying.
⚫ Coordinating a county barn tour is one of the roles of county representatives. (This would probably only happen once.)
⚫ A county representative is a contact in the county for folks wanting to know about Iowa Barn Foundation barn preservation grants.
⚫ The representative is a friend to barns that need to be discovered and preserved.
⚫ The representative is a "barn historian" - sending interesting information on historic barns in their county to the foundation and to the Iowa Barn Foundation Magazine.
⚫ And, the representative is a recruiter of barn-interested folks encouraging them to get involved with barn preservation.
If a barn in the county has received a grant and is on the All-State Barn Tour, the county representative can assist if any coordination is needed.
The Iowa Barn Foundation is twenty years old. Some of our devoted county representatives have "retired" from their duties. The foundation hopes that barn-enthusiastic folks will sign up to replace them. The foundation will help each new recruit, so it's an easy transition. Below is a list of present county representatives. Thus, counties not on this list need representatives.
We hope that you will consider signing up and joining our effort. It's really about being a contact. If you have questions, please call......
A county representative can be proud for contributing to Iowa's history - to America's history.
We want to save the barns that remain--buildings built by hard-working Iowans. You can help.
Many of Iowa's 99 counties have representatives to the Iowa Barn Foundation. We welcome volunteers to represent those counties that do not yet have a representative.
County Representatives for Iowa Counties
Adair: Brian Vandewater, 515-450-8848
Allamakee: Marlene Fenstermann, 563-382-3439
Blackhawk: Keith Oltrogge, 319-984-5292
Boone: Steve Rimathe, 515-290-5258 or
Bremer: Keith Oltrogge, 319-984-5292
Buchanan: Jim Michels, 319-551-2155
Buena Vista: Becky Bryant, 712-213-0598
Cedar: Sue Robinson, 563-432-7186
Cerro Gordo: Dale and Judy Mills, 641-424-1197, or cell 641-420-9227
Cherokee: Becky Bryant, 712-213-0598
Clark: Ron McBroom/Ginnie Hargis, 515-834-2026
Clinton: Dan and Jolene Witt, 563-212-1307
Dallas: Brian Vandewater, 515-450-8848
Davis: Sharon and Bill Hardy, 641-722-5224
Decatur: Judy Partiage, 641-344-2237
Des Moines: Dale and Julie Bartelt, 319-759-0591
Dubuque: Jack Smith, 563-599-3061
Fayette: Vernon Oakland, 563-423-7122
Floyd: Michael and Rochelle Barrigan, 641-228-3826
Franklin: Gary Bennett, 641-579-6154
Greene: Mary and Larry Richards, 5l5-386-4750
Grundy: Rebecca Engelking, 641-366-3150
Hancock: Thomas Chizek, 641-430-4456
Hamilton: Ron Adams, 515-368-1678
Hardin: Ken Starek, 641-847-30l8
Humboldt: Kurt Weinert, 515-332-4467
Ida: Don Poggensee, 7l2-364-349l
Jackson: Lori Evilsizer, 563-689-6447
Jasper: Rodney J. Hassler, 641-753-3276
Jefferson: Jeffrey Fitz-Randolph, 641-472-7810
Johnson: Wilford Yoder, 319-338-6596
Lee: Brian Foecke, 319-470-0329
Madison: Ron McBroom/Ginnie Hargis, 515-834-2026
Mahaska: The Charles Oldhams 641-969-4272
Marion: Rob Vos, 641-628-8396
Marshall: Rodney J. Hassler, 641-753-3276
Montgomery: The Montgomery County Historical Society, 712-623-2289
Muscatine: Kass Kelly, 563-263-1777 or
O'Brien: Pamela Battaglioli, 712-727-3612
Osceola: Carrie Jones, 712-832-3227
Page: Dave Williams, 712-826-8832
Pocahontas: Terry Ferguson, 712-845-4978
Polk: Ober Anderson, 515-964-0964
Pottawattamie: Evan Summy, 712-323-5353
Sac: Jack and Jane Hogue, 712-668-4663
Scott: Susan Frye, 563-285-5570
Shelby: Linda Heflin, 712-744-3660
Story: Roxanne Mehlisch, 641-487-7690; Norma Johnson, 515-707-4428; Steve Rimathe, 515-290-5258 or
Tama: Rodney J. Hassler, 641-753-3276
Van Buren: Darlene and David McQuoid, 3l9-397-2340
Wapello: David Cobler, 641-777-7202
Warren: Cheryl Eflink, 641-297-2239
Washington: Wilford Yoder, 319-338-6596
Wayne: Richard Stafford, 641-390-0723
Webster: Deann Haden, 515-576-5519
Winneshiek: Marlene Fenstermann, 563-382-3439
For more information about County Representatives, contact the County Representative Coordinator, Wayne Rimathe, 515-249-7466 or
© 1997-2017 Iowa Barn Foundation. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without express written permission from the Iowa Barn Foundation. Updated 03-23-17.