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Photo of barn in Temperance, Michigan
Barn in Temperance, Monroe County, Michigan

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Michigan Barn & Farmstead Survey: 4-H Youth Project
A Local Legacy

As the numbers of farms in America disappear, barns are disappearing as well -- and with them a big part of American history.

Even though the number of working farms is declining, Michigan is still one of the nation's leading agricultural states. Corn is Michigan's major field crop, but the state is best known for its fruit production. Michigan leads the nation in the production of cherries, and is a major producer of apples. The state is also usually the leading producer of dry beans in the United States. Christmas trees are another important agricultural product, and Michigan forests produce large quantities of pulpwood products.

Because of all this agricultural activity in Michigan the 4-H Club there did a lot of work studying the architecture of barns. Using a guidebook developed at Michigan State University Museum, 4-H clubs photographed and cataloged the barns and silos of their counties. The club members not only preserved an aspect of their agricultural heritage that is now disappearing, but also they gained a greater awareness and appreciation of their past.

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