Do you know what happens when you arm staff members from an organization dedicated to serving Iowa’s farmers with paint brushes, hammers, rakes and shovels and turn them loose on a spring cleaning assignment? I had a chance to find out first-hand last week, joining nearly 60 Iowa Farm Bureau staff as we tackled several projects to help Living History Farms prepare for guests this spring.

Much like the hard-working farmers we serve, the army of volunteers wasted no time getting to work and in a few short hours helped awaken the 1876 town of Walnut Hill from its winter slumber. Within a few minutes following a brief orientation, there were various hubs of activity as volunteers put a fresh coat of paint on historic buildings, picked up debris, fixed fences, replaced worn out boardwalk boards and completed landscaping projects. 

You might get a chance to see some of our crew’s work when Antique Road Show visits the farm in June. Tickets to the event are sold out, but appraisals recorded during the visit will be part of the show’s 29th broadcast season, premiering January 2025 on PBS. 

It’s hard to say Living History Farms (LHF) is Iowa’s best-kept secret because almost everyone has heard of the facility, but I think it’s perhaps one of the state’s most overlooked attractions. 

Looking to the future, LHF has launched a $6.2 million capital campaign to transform the facility from a seasonal attraction to a year-round destination. If you have a chance, I encourage you to stop by this summer to see a slice of Iowa’s rich agricultural history. There are events happening nearly every weekend, and self-guided tours are available daily.