You may recall that late last year Tom and Kerry Dull, Thorntown, began an unusual campaign to raise money to restore an old barn on their farm. Only it wasn't your normal community fundraiser. Instead, it was a contest conducted on the Internet.
Campbell's Soup sponsored a contest allowing consumers to pick out five family farms where a barn would be restored on those farms. The field was narrowed to 10 finalists late last fall, and clips from each farm were placed on the Internet. Voting began in late fsll and continued until early January.
The actual restoration work is already scheduled. Dull says the magic dates are April 15 and 16, with the finished product unveiled to neighbors and media on April 18.
Campbell's Soup sponsored the contest as part of their 'Grow your own soup' promotion.
Each time someone visited the Website, they could vote for their favorite barn. People were allowed to vote again.
After a strong start, the Dull's proposed project didn't attract as much support later in the campaign compared to other entries, but still ran a good race. But it still attracted enough votes, finishing fourth. Campbell's Soup had agreed to fund restoration of five barns.
Local FFA chapters and even the Indiana State FFA helped by publicizing the contest and urging people to 'vote early, vote often.' It was the one 'election' where voting early, voting often' was not only legal, but encouraged. The Indiana State FFA also sent reminders to teachers across the state. Indiana Prairie Farmer also encouraged supporting the Dull's, both through articles in the Web.
The actual labor will be supplied by volunteers form the community and local FFA chapters. Dull expects that between 100 and 200 FFA members will join in refurbishing the barn. Both Western Boone FFA and Clinton Prairie FFA Chapters played a special role in urging people to vote.
The Dull's farm actually collected 40,000 votes during the two-month contest, which ended Jan. 5 of this year. The Dull's operate a cash grain farm, and raise cattle but also are in the Christmas Tree business. They retail sell trees to customers on the farm. The Dulls have also learned the value of ag tourism- make the tree-buying experience more than just going home with a tree.
Congratulations to the Dull family. Look for more on this project in the near future.