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Could Your Farm Use A People Center?
"What we have here is what the farmer of the future will need," says Keith Linnabary, who along with his wife, Ruth Ann, built a People Center on their 1,150 acre farm near Cardington, Ohio.
"It serves as a place for fellowship, recreation, exercise, mechanical work, communication and as a farm office for the Linnabary Farms.
"I really got the idea for the building while attending a Professional Farmer's Institute. One of the sessions stressed separating business from family," says Kieth.
"His office used to be in the house and every time he wanted to work he would be interrupted by the children and me. He just couldn't get much accomplished," says Ruth Ann.
So, in March of 1976, construction began on the People Center. It includes a tastefully decorated board room complete with conference table and chairs, Keith's office which is small "for confinement," an office for Ruth Ann to talk with her clients (she has a masters degree in social work), a kitchenette, spacious workshop area and a bathroom complete with shower.
On the second floor of the building is a parts room and a carpeted room with a mirror lined wall which is being used in various ways.
The structure was completed in March of last year and has been a beehive of activity for Linnabary Farms and its farm friends. It is the core of the grain operation, complete with an FM radio communication system and telephone.
The board room is used to conduct business interviews and discussions. "It has really relieved me of the pressure of never knowing when someone would be at the house to talk about business. Now all of this is conducted in the board room," says Ruth Ann.
In addition, the board room is used to host the meetings of the Women's Aglow Fellowship of which Ruth Ann is treasurer. On Tuesday afternoons and evenings, Ruth Ann conducts physical fitness programs for women in the community.
Just when the People Center is quiet from a week of hard labors, it becomes alive every Friday night with ballroom dancing instructions.
The classes run for a six week period and cost $27.50 to learn the fundamentals of elegant ballroom dancing. The instructors, Mr. and Mrs. Bob Williams of nearby Chesterville, were former instructors with a dance studio in Columbus.
The People Center has a future for itself. It was constructed to expand with the future needs of Linnabary Farms. "One of our goals is to become involved in the sheep business. That would involve hiring a herdsman and when that happens Ruth Ann's office for her social work will be used by the herdsman," says Keith.
"Also, as the operation continues to grow, we will need additional help and the kitchenette can be used by the men for grabbing a cup of coffee or getting lunch. We have enough room that someday we might have a computer in the center to help us with the total farm operation."
Keith can foresee using the board room to host a broker to talk with a group of his farm friends about investments or to invite seed corn representatives to explain their varieties.
The Ohio State University graduate with a degree in agriculture education believes that the future of farming will be dependent on personnel, and that farmers will need a professional setting to work with such top flight employees.
The Linnabarys, who have two daughters, Sara, 3, and Tara, 1, live by the philosophy that "what the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve." They are making that philosophy come true in their People Center which may be the wave of the future for all farm operations.

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1979 - Volume #3, Issue #5