HOWARD COUNTY - A Howard County farm family has been named winner of the 2017 Arnold Award for Rural Preservation from Indiana Landmarks and Indiana Farm Bureau. Tim and Beth Sheets raise alpacas for their fleece and own the farm that was bought by Beth's parents in the 1950s. The property includes a barn built in 1911 from recycled timbers, a 150 year-old farm house and historic log cabin that was rescued from demolition.

The red barn, which now has a roof depicting an alpaca with its shingles, had been used for raising cattle in the past and now serves as shelter and space for 50 Suri alpacas. Tim says "our alpacas benefit from the large wagon doors on the east and west sides of the barn. In summer, we open the doors to allow a cooling breeze to flow through the nave - the open center of the barn."

The award is presented annually at the Indiana State Fair and is named after John Arnold, a Rush County farmer who died in 1991 and was committed to preserving Indiana's rural heritage. The Sheets will receive the award from Indiana Landmarks President Marsh Davis and Indiana Farm Bureau President Randy Kron at a ceremony that will also feature Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, Hannah Ferguson of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and a member of the Arnold family.