Fermilab to host site’s Former Farmers, Batavia, IL

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The Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory will host families who once farmed the land of the Fermilab site at an event in the farmers’ honor on Saturday, September 6. Members of many of the 56 families who once raised crops and livestock on Fermilab’s 6,800 acres will tour the Laboratory and meet at Kuhn Barn for a barbecue. The invitation-only afternoon will include tours of preserved farm buildings on the site, as well as visits to scientific facilities, the restored prairie and the Fermilab buffalo herd.

Fermilab Director John Peoples will welcome the former farm families to the Laboratory. “We are delighted that so many of the people who lived on our site before we came here to build a national science laboratory will be joining us, “Peoples said. “We are eager to hear about their experiences and to share with them some of our excitement about the harvest of scientific discovery that now takes place at Fermilab.”

The State of Illinois acquired the site for a national laboratory for frontier research in high-energy physics in the late 1960s, buying the land and existing buildings from the owners and donating it to the federal government. Laboratory officials preserved many of the farm buildings, grouping several of the farmhouses in a “village” to house visiting scientists from distant states and countries who come to Fermilab to carry out research in particle physics at the world’s highest-energy particle accelerator.

Some 15 of the original barns from the former farms remain. One houses the carpenter shop, another holds the annual harvest of prairie seeds from the Laboratory’s 1200 acres of restored prairie, and many others serve as storage facilities.

The Laboratory expects more than 100 people to attend the event.

Fermilab will provide an opportunity for members of the press to talk with farm families and Laboratory officials beginning at 5:00 p.m. at Kuhn Barn in the Fermilab Village.

Fermilab is operated by Universities Research Association, Inc. for the U.S. Department of Energy.