Coalition Profile

Since Fall 1997, groups and individuals across New York State have been meeting to discuss the challenging issue of barn preservation. For some, the driving force is a concern for protecting the lands and buildings associated with agriculture, this state’s number one industry. For others, the barn is a beautiful but threatened building type which reveals much about New York State’s origins and historic development. And yet others are concerned with agriculture and food systems economic vitality and rural economic development in general and the roles that barns might play in these endeavors. Whatever the motive, not-for-profits, local governments, and citizens are becoming increasingly invested in preserving our rural heritage and its most powerful symbol – the barn. The New York State Barn Coalition was formed to serve as a unified voice for barn preservation across the state.



  • encourage local/regional support of farms and agriculture
  • raise awareness of our barns’ value
  • engage youth in agricultural and farmstead literacy programs
  • create and implement a highly visible promotional plan – develop slide, video and photo presentations and a traveling exhibit
  • maximize media coverage – develop newspaper articles, newsletter inserts and website


  • provide learning opportunities, such as: classes and workshops
  • provide links to practical, economical and accurate technical assistance
  • offer financial incentives, such as grants and awards, or low interest loans
  • highlight funding sources
  • provide information; publish “How To” information
  • develop list of competent barn contractors
  • work with communities to save threatened barns of note
  • document, survey, photograph, and catalogue barns


  • lobby for legislation favorable to barn preservation, such as lowering taxes on old barns or offering tax credits
  • work to change zoning laws and building codes so that barns may be more easily adapted to new uses
  • provide information on taxation and legal issues


  • develop systematic method of communication and dissemination of information
  • initiate partnership between the Coalition and barn owners as advocates
  • partner with already established county and regional historical and preservation organizations,
  • agricultural museums, schools and youth organizations (FFA, 4-H, etc.)
  • encourage citizen involvement in local community planning which includes preservation of rural landscapes
  • link with agri-tourism initiatives