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Fundraising underway for new barn at fairgrounds

The fundraising process is underway for a new cattle barn at the East Otter Tail County Fairgrounds.

Members on the barn’s building committee have sent letters out to producers and agricultural businesses, and have attended township annual meetings, to request donations for the project.

A public Meat Bingo event has also been planned, and will take place in April.

“We’ve currently raised $16,000 and we’d like to reach $50,000 before we begin construction,” said Karen Gorentz, co-chair on the barn’s building committee.

Total project costs are estimated at $100,000.

The new barn will replace the current structures that are along Highway 78 in Perham. It will be located directly to the east of the red children’s barn and to the north of the 4-H non-livestock exhibit building.

Plans are to erect the building and have it ready for use by the East Otter Tail County Fair on July 25-28.

“The support from the community for the barn project has been really good,” said Gorentz.

“The versatility of the building is exciting to people. It will be in a better location and centrally located at the fairgrounds, so the building can be used for more things in the future.”

The new barn will be 60-feet by 120-feet and is estimated to hold over 150 head of cattle. It will contain amenities such as a milk house, parlor, changing/nursing rooms, various ventilation features and removable tie rails.

The building will also feature updated power, with outlets easily accessible on both the sidewalls and down the middle of the building.

The primary use for the building will be to house beef and dairy cattle during the fair.

However, the project will be versatile to many different species and appeal to organizations throughout the county, with different activities such as auctions, sales, shows, and dances.

The East Otter Tail County Agricultural Society wants the new building to be focused on educating consumers about the agricultural industry, as the vast majority of consumers are more than three generations removed from the farm. With updated milking facilities, the new building will foster interaction between livestock exhibitors and consumers.

To view a draft of the proposed project, visit or contact one of the building committee members: Ed Keil, 218-640-1806; Pete Zavadil, 346-2521; or Karen Gorentz, 218-234-3716. Contributions for the new barn are tax deductible.

Heidi Kratzke, For the Focus