Blue Ribbon Foundation Supports Barn Renovation Project On The Historic Iowa State Fairgrounds

August 22, 2022
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The Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation is proud to announce an upcoming improvement project on the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Over the next several years, the livestock barns will undergo a historic $25 million renovation.

The livestock barns represent Iowa’s agriculture heritage at the Iowa State Fair. The barns serve as the premier facilities for 4-H and FFA youth to showcase their hard work and skills every August. The current Cattle, Horse, Sheep and Swine barns have not been renovated at this scale in the century since they were originally built and are in dire need of renovation.

The Blue Ribbon Foundation received a $5 million donation from the Richard O. Jacobson Foundation to begin the renovation project. Iowa Select Farms and Jeff & Deb Hansen have committed $2 million specifically for the Swine barn portion of the renovation. The Foundation will also receive $12 million from the state’s “Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund.” All Iowans are welcome to support the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s fundraising efforts needed to complete the project.

“The Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation is extremely grateful to the Richard O. Jacobson Foundation, Iowa Select Farms, Jeff & Deb Hansen, Governor Reynolds, and the Iowa Legislature for this generous support, which will enhance millions of Fairgoers’ experience for years to come,” said Peter Cownie, Executive Director of the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation. “Simply put, these gifts allow us to continue preserving the history of the Iowa State Fair, while improving the grounds and the facilities for your children, your grandchildren and all Fairgoers. Thank you.”

The renovations will commence following the 2022 Iowa State Fair. The structures will be renovated from top to bottom with updated roofing, flooring, lighting, restrooms, and offices. Each barn will have additional upgrades for specific needs.

“The generosity of Iowans has been instrumental in making this great institution what it is today,” said Gary Slater, Iowa State Fair CEO and Fair Manager. “The Iowa State Fair has a legacy of high quality livestock and premier livestock shows. The historic barn renovations will give generations of Fairgoers the opportunity to continue the timeless tradition of showing livestock at the Iowa State Fair.”

The Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Since its inception in 1993, the Foundation has raised more than $195 million, through individual contributions, state appropriations, in-kind services, and corporate, federal and state grants.

For more information, please contact the Foundation at 515-262-3111 Ext. 371, or visit