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Tobacco barn workshop to be held Nov. 6

Halifax County tobacco barn owners will have an opportunity to learn how to apply for money to repair their structures at a grant workshop to be held Wednesday, Nov. 6, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Halifax County/South Boston Visitor Center located at 1180 Bill Tuck Highway (U.S. 58) in South Boston.

Preservation Virginia also will hold two other grant workshops in the coming weeks in Yanceyville, N.C. and Chatham.

Those workshops will be held at the Gunn Memorial Public Library, 161 Main St. East in Yanceyville, N.C., from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 29 and at Olde Dominion Agricultural Complex at 19783 U.S. 29 S. in Chatham from 6-8 p.m. on Nov. 4.

Applications will be available at the workshops, and staff members will attend to answer questions. Applications are due Jan. 15, according to Sonja Ingram, field representative with Preservation Virginia.

The organization recently received $100,000 in grant money from JTI Leaf Services to pay for repair and stabilization of historic tobacco barns in Halifax and Pittsylvania counties and Caswell County, N.C.

Japan Tobacco International will provide $100,000 in mini-grants to rehabilitate aging and weathered tobacco barns as part of Preservation Virginia’s tobacco barn preservation project that began last year.

Ingram said she hopes the tobacco barns project will get more grants from JTI in the future.

Barn owners interested in applying for money to repair their old structures are encouraged to attend one of the three grant workshops.

According to conditions of the grant, eligible barns will be prioritized for money based on several criteria, including visibility from public rights-of-way.

Selected barns must be tobacco curing or “pack” barns or barns that are proven to have served in some capacity during the processing of tobacco and must be at least 50 years old or of historical and/or architectural significance.

Grant funds will be awarded to barns that possess enough integrity so that any work undertaken can be completed in a quality manner.

The grants will cover exterior improvements only such as roofs, foundations and logs or other siding repair or replacement.

Preservation Virginia began the Tobacco Barns Preservation Project in 2012 with the goals of raising awareness of the unique and irreplaceable rural and agricultural heritage of the tobacco-growing region and to help preserve and protect as many of the area’s historic tobacco barns as possible.

A recently conducted survey revealed over 1,000 tobacco barns are still standing in Pittsylvania County alone, the majority of which need repair work.

If no action is taken soon, these irreplaceable historic assets will be lost, according to Ingram. 

For more information, contact Ingram at 434-770-1209.