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Imagine if old barn could talk

white barn
HISTORY PRESERVED: This barn at the Davis-Purdue Ag Center near Farmland could tell stories about milk cows and horse improvement projects. Its origin is even a bit of a mystery.
What stories this old barn could tell about history and the early days of ag research!

The front half of this old white barn with the haymow peak is original to the Davis-Purdue Agricultural Center. It’s been added onto with more modern storage space and sliding doors to the rear of the barn. But the original barn is still there.

Visitors to the Davis-Purdue Ag Center field day on Aug. 31 will get a chance to see the barn and hear the history of this Purdue ag center in east-central Indiana. Jeff Boyer, superintendent, says this year’s field day is special because it celebrates the 100th anniversary of the farm as part of the Purdue University system.

In the early days, draft horses were kept on the farm. “They were the technology of the day,” Boyer says. “There was lots of emphasis placed on improving draft horses by breeding to good stallions. Some of that went on at this farm.”



RELIC FROM A RELIC: This piece of an old hay track was preserved from an original barn at the Davis-Purdue Ag Center. It’s displayed along with relics from other barns in the center’s conference room.

At one time, 70 cows were milked in the original part of the white barn, Boyer says. Until 1999, livestock was a big part of the research efforts at the center. Animal scientists kept records and studied genetics. The main breeds milked there were Milking Shorthorns, Red Poll and Devonshires — all dual-purpose breeds.

A bit of mystery surrounds this particular barn, Boyer notes. Historians are sure the barn was originally located on the farm, and was moved to the site where it sits today. What no one knows for sure is where the barn was originally located on the property. 



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