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Loafing Shed Plans: DIY Guide For Building A Functional And Stylish Shelter Loafing Shed Plans: DIY Guide For Building A Functional And Stylish Shelter

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Loafing Shed Plans: DIY Guide For Building A Functional And Stylish Shelter

Written by: Evelyn Wilson

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Kathryn Senior
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Reviewed by
Kathryn Senior

Senior Editor in Create & Decorate, Kathryn combines traditional craftsmanship with contemporary trends. Her background in textile design and commitment to sustainable crafts inspire both content and community.

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Discover comprehensive DIY loafing shed plans to create a functional and stylish shelter with our expert guide. Perfect for DIY & Crafts enthusiasts.

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Are you considering building a loafing shed on your property? Whether you're a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a novice looking to embark on a new project, this comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge and insights needed to construct a functional and stylish shelter for your livestock or equipment.

A loafing shed, also known as a run-in shed, serves as a versatile and valuable addition to any farm or property. It provides a safe and comfortable space for animals to seek shelter from the elements, such as rain, snow, or harsh sunlight. Additionally, it can be utilized to store farming equipment, hay, or other essentials, making it a practical and multi-purpose structure.

In this guide, we will delve into the essential aspects of building a loafing shed, from selecting the ideal location and materials to designing and constructing the structure. Whether you're aiming for a traditional, rustic aesthetic or a modern, sleek finish, the design possibilities are endless, allowing you to tailor the loafing shed to suit your specific needs and preferences.

By the end of this guide, you will have a clear understanding of the steps involved in creating a durable and visually appealing loafing shed. With the right tools, materials, and a dash of creativity, you'll be well on your way to completing a rewarding and practical DIY project that will benefit both you and your animals.

So, roll up your sleeves, gather your enthusiasm, and let's embark on this fulfilling journey of crafting a loafing shed that not only serves its purpose but also adds a touch of charm to your property.


Understanding the Purpose of a Loafing Shed

A loafing shed, also referred to as a run-in shed, plays a crucial role in providing shelter and protection for livestock, particularly horses, cattle, and other farm animals. Its primary purpose is to offer a safe and comfortable space where animals can seek refuge from adverse weather conditions, such as intense sunlight, heavy rain, snow, or strong winds. This protective enclosure not only ensures the well-being of the animals but also minimizes their stress and discomfort during extreme weather events.

In addition to serving as a shelter for animals, a loafing shed can also be utilized as a storage space for farming equipment, hay, and other essential supplies. This dual functionality makes it a versatile and practical structure for any farm or property, offering a convenient solution for both animal care and equipment storage.

Furthermore, a well-designed loafing shed contributes to the overall organization and efficiency of a farm or property. By providing a designated area for animals to rest and seek shelter, it helps maintain a clean and orderly environment, reducing the risk of damage to equipment and minimizing the impact of inclement weather on livestock.

Moreover, a loafing shed can enhance the management of grazing areas by offering a centralized location for animals to access water and supplementary feed. This centralized feeding and watering point can help streamline daily farm operations and contribute to the overall health and well-being of the animals.

Overall, the purpose of a loafing shed extends beyond mere shelter provision; it encompasses the promotion of animal welfare, the facilitation of farm management, and the safeguarding of valuable equipment and resources. Understanding the multifaceted role of a loafing shed is essential for designing and constructing a structure that effectively meets the diverse needs of both animals and farmers.

In the subsequent sections of this guide, we will explore the key considerations and steps involved in building a functional and stylish loafing shed that aligns with its fundamental purpose while adding value to your property.


Choosing the Right Location for Your Loafing Shed

Selecting the optimal location for your loafing shed is a critical decision that significantly influences its functionality, longevity, and overall effectiveness. The chosen site should not only accommodate the size and layout of the shed but also consider factors such as drainage, accessibility, and the well-being of the animals it will shelter.

Assessing Drainage and Terrain

Before breaking ground, carefully evaluate the natural drainage patterns and terrain of your property. Ideally, the location should be situated on high ground with proper drainage to prevent water accumulation around the shed. Avoid areas prone to flooding or standing water, as these conditions can compromise the structural integrity of the shed and create unsanitary conditions for the animals.

Considering Sun Exposure and Wind Direction

Take into account the orientation of the shed in relation to the sun and prevailing wind direction. Positioning the shed to maximize natural sunlight exposure while providing adequate shade can enhance the comfort of the animals and contribute to a healthier environment. Additionally, aligning the shed to minimize exposure to strong winds will offer better protection for both the animals and the structure itself.

Evaluating Accessibility and Proximity

The accessibility of the chosen location is another crucial factor to consider. Ensure that the site allows for easy access by farm vehicles, such as tractors or trucks, for the delivery of feed, bedding, and other supplies. Moreover, consider the proximity of the shed to grazing areas and water sources to facilitate the movement of animals and streamline daily farm operations.

Prioritizing Safety and Security

When selecting the location, prioritize the safety and security of the animals. Choose a spot that offers good visibility from the main farm buildings or residence, allowing for easy monitoring of the animals housed in the shed. Additionally, consider the proximity to potential hazards, such as roads, bodies of water, or dense vegetation, and take measures to mitigate any associated risks.

Harmonizing with the Landscape

Lastly, aim to integrate the loafing shed harmoniously with the surrounding landscape. While functionality is paramount, the visual appeal of the shed can be enhanced by positioning it in a manner that complements the natural aesthetics of the property. This thoughtful placement can contribute to a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing farm environment.

By carefully considering these factors and conducting a thorough assessment of potential locations, you can identify the optimal site for your loafing shed, setting the stage for a successful and well-integrated addition to your property.


Selecting the Materials for Your Loafing Shed

The selection of materials for your loafing shed is a pivotal step that directly impacts the durability, functionality, and visual appeal of the structure. By choosing high-quality materials that are well-suited to the local climate and intended use of the shed, you can ensure the longevity and reliability of the shelter for your animals and equipment.

Lumber and Framing Materials

When it comes to constructing the frame and walls of your loafing shed, opt for sturdy and weather-resistant lumber. Pressure-treated wood, such as treated pine or cedar, is an excellent choice for withstanding the elements and resisting decay, ensuring the structural integrity of the shed over time. Additionally, consider the dimensions and strength of the lumber to support the intended size of the shed and provide a secure framework for the walls and roof.

Roofing Materials

The selection of roofing materials is crucial for safeguarding the interior of the loafing shed from moisture and environmental factors. Corrugated metal roofing offers durability and excellent protection against rain, snow, and UV exposure. Alternatively, asphalt shingles provide a traditional and aesthetically pleasing option while delivering reliable weatherproofing. Whichever material you choose, prioritize quality and longevity to minimize maintenance and ensure long-term performance.

Siding and Cladding

The choice of siding and cladding materials contributes to the overall aesthetics and weather resistance of the loafing shed. Treated plywood, metal panels, or composite sidings are popular options known for their durability and low maintenance requirements. These materials offer protection against moisture and pests while allowing for customization in terms of color and texture, enabling you to achieve a visually appealing and long-lasting exterior finish.

Foundation and Flooring

For the foundation and flooring of the loafing shed, consider materials that provide stability and insulation. Concrete piers or blocks are commonly used to support the structure, offering a solid and level base for the shed. When it comes to flooring, gravel or crushed stone provides effective drainage and footing for the animals, while rubber mats or stall flooring can enhance comfort and cleanliness within the shed.

Hardware and Fasteners

Selecting high-quality hardware and fasteners, such as galvanized nails, screws, and brackets, is essential for ensuring the structural integrity and longevity of the loafing shed. These components play a critical role in securing the various elements of the shed, from the framing and siding to the roofing materials, and should be chosen for their resistance to corrosion and weathering.

By thoughtfully considering these material options and prioritizing quality, durability, and suitability for the local climate, you can lay a solid foundation for the construction of a resilient and visually appealing loafing shed that meets the diverse needs of your farm or property.


Designing Your Loafing Shed

Designing your loafing shed is an exciting phase that allows you to unleash your creativity while addressing the specific requirements of your property and livestock. The design process encompasses a range of considerations, from the overall layout and dimensions to the aesthetic details that contribute to the shed's visual appeal and functionality.

Layout and Dimensions

Begin by determining the ideal size and layout of your loafing shed based on the number of animals it will accommodate and the additional storage or workspace requirements. Consider factors such as the space needed for each animal to comfortably seek shelter, access to feeding and watering areas, and the inclusion of storage space for hay, equipment, or other essentials. Additionally, factor in the potential expansion of your livestock or the addition of new equipment in the future to ensure the shed's long-term suitability.

Ventilation and Natural Light

Incorporating adequate ventilation and natural light into the shed's design is essential for creating a comfortable and healthy environment for the animals. Strategically positioned windows, vents, or open eaves can facilitate air circulation, reduce moisture buildup, and promote a fresh and airy atmosphere within the shed. Furthermore, maximizing natural light through the inclusion of windows or translucent roofing panels can enhance visibility and contribute to the well-being of the animals.

Aesthetic Features

While functionality is paramount, the aesthetic features of your loafing shed can elevate its visual appeal and complement the overall landscape of your property. Consider architectural details such as overhangs, decorative trims, or contrasting finishes to add character and charm to the structure. Additionally, explore color options for the siding, roofing, and trim that harmonize with the surroundings and reflect your personal style, creating a cohesive and inviting presence on your property.

Customization and Personalization

Embrace the opportunity to customize the design of your loafing shed to align with your unique preferences and practical needs. Whether you prefer a traditional barn-style appearance or a modern, streamlined look, the design can be tailored to reflect your individual taste and blend seamlessly with the existing structures on your property. Explore options for personalized touches, such as custom signage, decorative hardware, or landscaping features, to infuse the shed with character and distinction.

Accessibility and Functionality

Ensure that the design of the loafing shed prioritizes accessibility and functionality, allowing for easy entry and exit for the animals and convenient access for maintenance and cleaning tasks. Consider the placement of doors, gates, and feeding stations to optimize the flow of movement within the shed and streamline daily care routines. Additionally, incorporate features that facilitate the storage and organization of equipment and supplies, enhancing the overall efficiency of the space.

By thoughtfully considering these design elements and tailoring the loafing shed to suit your specific needs and preferences, you can create a distinctive and purposeful structure that not only fulfills its practical role but also enriches the visual and functional aspects of your property. The design phase sets the stage for the successful realization of a loafing shed that embodies your vision and serves as a valuable asset to your farm or property.


Building the Foundation

The foundation of a loafing shed is a critical element that provides stability, support, and protection against ground moisture. Properly constructing the foundation sets the stage for a durable and long-lasting structure that can withstand the rigors of daily use and environmental factors.

Site Preparation

Before commencing the foundation construction, it is essential to prepare the site by clearing the area of any debris, vegetation, or obstacles that may impede the construction process. Ensure that the ground is level and free from any irregularities that could affect the stability of the foundation.

Choosing the Foundation Type

The choice of foundation type depends on various factors, including the soil composition, local building codes, and the intended use of the loafing shed. Common foundation options include concrete piers, concrete blocks, or a poured concrete slab. Each option offers distinct advantages in terms of cost, ease of installation, and long-term durability.

Installing the Foundation

For a concrete pier foundation, begin by digging holes at designated intervals along the perimeter of the shed. These holes will accommodate the placement of the concrete piers, which serve as the primary support for the shed's structure. Ensure that the piers are set at a uniform depth and aligned to support the load-bearing points of the shed's frame.

If opting for a concrete block foundation, lay out the blocks in a grid pattern, ensuring that they are level and properly aligned to provide a stable base for the shed. Alternatively, a poured concrete slab foundation involves the creation of a solid, level surface that extends across the entire footprint of the shed, offering comprehensive support and stability.

Securing the Foundation

Once the foundation elements are in place, it is crucial to secure them using appropriate fasteners and reinforcement. This may involve anchoring the piers or blocks to the ground using metal brackets and bolts or reinforcing the poured concrete slab with steel mesh or rebar. These measures enhance the structural integrity of the foundation and prepare it to bear the weight of the shed's frame and contents.

Ensuring Proper Drainage

Incorporating effective drainage measures is essential to prevent water accumulation around the foundation, which can lead to moisture-related issues and compromise the shed's stability. Consider implementing a perimeter drainage system or grading the surrounding terrain to direct water away from the foundation, safeguarding it against potential damage.

By meticulously attending to the construction of the foundation, you establish a solid and reliable base for the loafing shed, laying the groundwork for the subsequent phases of construction. A well-built foundation forms the cornerstone of a structurally sound and enduring loafing shed, ensuring its resilience and functionality for years to come.


Constructing the Frame and Walls

The construction of the frame and walls forms the skeletal structure of the loafing shed, providing the framework for the enclosure and defining its overall stability and integrity. This phase of the construction process involves precise measurements, careful assembly, and the strategic placement of wall components to ensure a robust and well-constructed framework.

Framing the Structure

Begin by framing the walls and creating the basic outline of the loafing shed. Utilize pressure-treated lumber or suitable framing material to construct the vertical supports, horizontal beams, and diagonal bracing that form the framework. Pay close attention to the alignment and spacing of the framing members to maintain structural strength and uniformity throughout the construction.

Wall Assembly

With the frame in place, proceed to install the wall panels or sheathing to enclose the structure. Treated plywood or metal siding panels are commonly used for their durability and weather resistance. Secure the panels to the frame using appropriate fasteners, ensuring a snug fit and uniform coverage. Take care to leave openings for doors, windows, and ventilation features as per the shed's design specifications.

Adding Structural Reinforcements

Incorporate additional reinforcements, such as corner braces and cross-bracing, to enhance the stability and rigidity of the walls. These reinforcements help distribute the load evenly across the structure, minimizing the risk of warping or shifting over time. By strategically placing these reinforcements, you can fortify the walls and ensure their ability to withstand external forces and environmental conditions.

Installing Windows and Doors

As the walls take shape, it's time to install windows and doors to provide ventilation, natural light, and convenient access to the interior of the shed. Carefully position and secure the windows to promote airflow and visibility within the structure. Similarly, install sturdy doors that offer ease of entry and exit for both animals and caretakers, ensuring a functional and accessible enclosure.

Sealing and Weatherproofing

Once the frame and walls are assembled, pay attention to sealing gaps, joints, and seams to prevent moisture infiltration and enhance the shed's weather resistance. Apply appropriate sealants or caulking to seal any potential entry points for water or pests, safeguarding the interior and preserving the longevity of the structure.

By meticulously executing the construction of the frame and walls, you establish a solid and reliable foundation for the loafing shed, setting the stage for the subsequent phases of construction. This phase lays the groundwork for a structurally sound and enduring shelter that will serve its intended purpose effectively and reliably.


Installing the Roof

The installation of the roof marks a significant milestone in the construction of a loafing shed, as it not only provides essential protection from the elements but also contributes to the overall structural integrity and aesthetic appeal of the shelter. The choice of roofing materials, the method of installation, and the attention to weatherproofing details are crucial factors that determine the shed's resilience and functionality.

Selecting the Roofing Materials

Before proceeding with the installation, carefully consider the roofing materials best suited to the local climate and the specific requirements of the loafing shed. Corrugated metal roofing, known for its durability and weather resistance, is a popular choice due to its ability to withstand rain, snow, and UV exposure. Alternatively, asphalt shingles offer a traditional and visually appealing option while providing reliable protection against the elements. The selection of roofing materials should prioritize longevity, low maintenance, and effective weatherproofing to ensure the shed's long-term performance.

Preparing the Roofing Surface

Begin the installation process by preparing the roof surface to receive the chosen materials. Ensure that the underlying structure, including the framing and sheathing, is sound and free from any defects that could compromise the integrity of the roof. Address any protrusions, gaps, or irregularities to create a smooth and uniform surface for the roofing materials to be applied.

Applying the Roofing Materials

When installing corrugated metal roofing, carefully align the panels to ensure a secure and watertight fit. Fasten the panels to the underlying structure using appropriate screws and washers, paying attention to the recommended spacing and overlap guidelines. For asphalt shingles, follow the manufacturer's instructions for the correct placement and fastening of the shingles, ensuring proper alignment and coverage across the entire roof surface.

Sealing and Weatherproofing

As the roofing materials are applied, prioritize the effective sealing and weatherproofing of the roof to prevent moisture infiltration and ensure a tight, secure fit. Pay close attention to the installation of flashing around roof penetrations, such as vents and chimneys, to create a watertight barrier. Additionally, apply suitable sealants or caulking to seal any gaps or exposed fasteners, safeguarding the roof against potential leaks and weather-related damage.

Ensuring Proper Drainage

Incorporate measures to facilitate proper drainage from the roof, directing water away from the shed to prevent pooling and potential water damage. Install gutters and downspouts to channel rainwater away from the foundation of the shed, promoting effective water management and protecting the structural integrity of the entire enclosure.

By meticulously executing the installation of the roof and attending to the details of weatherproofing and drainage, you establish a resilient and protective covering for the loafing shed. The completed roof not only shields the interior from the elements but also contributes to the overall durability and functionality of the structure, ensuring its ability to provide reliable shelter for animals and equipment.


Adding Doors and Windows

The addition of doors and windows to a loafing shed plays a pivotal role in enhancing its functionality, accessibility, and overall comfort for the animals housed within. These elements not only facilitate easy entry and exit but also contribute to the shed's ventilation, natural light, and visual appeal. Thoughtful consideration and strategic placement of doors and windows are essential to create a welcoming and well-ventilated environment while ensuring the security and safety of the animals.

Door Considerations

When selecting doors for the loafing shed, prioritize durability, ease of use, and suitability for the intended livestock. Sliding barn doors are a popular choice due to their space-saving design and smooth operation, allowing for convenient access for both animals and caretakers. The doors should be wide enough to accommodate the movement of animals in and out of the shed, ensuring unobstructed entry and exit. Additionally, consider the inclusion of latches or locking mechanisms to secure the doors when necessary, providing a level of safety and control over the shed's access.

Window Placement and Functionality

Strategic placement of windows is crucial to promote natural ventilation and illuminate the interior of the shed. Windows should be positioned to maximize airflow while minimizing direct exposure to prevailing winds and inclement weather. This careful placement not only enhances the comfort of the animals but also contributes to a fresh and airy atmosphere within the shed. Additionally, consider the installation of adjustable shutters or protective grilles to regulate airflow and safeguard the windows from damage.

Material Selection and Weatherproofing

The choice of materials for doors and windows should align with the shed's overall design and climate considerations. Opt for sturdy, weather-resistant materials that can withstand exposure to the elements and provide long-term functionality. Proper weatherproofing, including the application of seals and weather-stripping, is essential to prevent drafts, moisture infiltration, and pest intrusion. This attention to detail ensures that the doors and windows effectively contribute to the shed's insulation and protection, creating a comfortable and secure environment for the animals.

Aesthetic Integration

Beyond their practical functionality, doors and windows offer an opportunity to enhance the visual appeal of the loafing shed. Consider coordinating the design and finish of the doors and windows with the overall aesthetic of the shed, harmonizing with the chosen siding, roofing, and trim. This cohesive integration contributes to a polished and unified appearance, elevating the shed's overall charm and presence on the property.

By thoughtfully incorporating doors and windows into the design of the loafing shed, you create a welcoming and well-ventilated space that prioritizes the comfort, safety, and practical needs of the animals. These elements not only serve as essential access points but also contribute to the shed's aesthetics and functionality, enriching its role as a valuable shelter for livestock and equipment.


Finishing Touches and Maintenance Tips

As the construction of the loafing shed nears completion, attention to finishing touches and proactive maintenance measures is essential to ensure the longevity, functionality, and visual appeal of the structure. These final details and ongoing care practices contribute to the overall quality and performance of the shed, enhancing its value as a reliable shelter for animals and equipment.

Exterior Finishes

Applying exterior finishes, such as paint or protective coatings, serves as a crucial step in safeguarding the shed against weathering and deterioration. Choose high-quality exterior paints or stains designed to withstand the elements and provide long-lasting protection. Additionally, consider incorporating a primer to enhance adhesion and durability, ensuring that the exterior finish maintains its integrity over time. The application of a protective finish not only enhances the shed's aesthetic appeal but also shields the underlying materials from moisture, UV exposure, and other environmental factors.

Regular Inspections

Establishing a routine schedule for inspecting the shed's structural components, roofing, and exterior surfaces is vital for identifying and addressing any potential issues promptly. Regular inspections allow for the early detection of wear, damage, or vulnerabilities, enabling timely repairs and maintenance to prevent further deterioration. Pay particular attention to areas prone to moisture accumulation, such as around windows, doors, and the foundation, to mitigate the risk of water-related damage and pest intrusion.

Drainage Maintenance

Maintaining effective drainage around the shed is essential for preserving the integrity of the foundation and preventing water-related issues. Clear debris from gutters, downspouts, and drainage channels to ensure unobstructed water flow away from the shed. Additionally, assess the grading around the shed to promote proper water runoff and prevent pooling near the foundation. By proactively managing drainage, you can protect the structural stability of the shed and minimize the risk of water damage.

Pest Control Measures

Implementing pest control measures, such as sealing potential entry points and conducting regular pest inspections, is crucial for safeguarding the shed against infestations. Seal gaps, cracks, and openings in the exterior to prevent pests from gaining access to the interior. Consider the use of non-toxic pest deterrents or traps to manage potential pest threats without compromising the safety of the animals or the shed's occupants.

Seasonal Maintenance

Adopting a seasonal maintenance routine tailored to the specific climate and environmental conditions of your location is essential for preserving the shed's functionality and appearance. Perform seasonal tasks, such as cleaning gutters, inspecting the roof for damage after severe weather, and applying protective treatments to exterior surfaces as needed. Additionally, consider the impact of seasonal changes on the shed's ventilation and insulation, making adjustments to optimize the comfort and well-being of the animals housed within.

Interior Comfort and Cleanliness

Prioritize the interior comfort and cleanliness of the shed by implementing measures to manage ventilation, temperature, and hygiene. Regularly clean and sanitize the interior surfaces to maintain a healthy environment for the animals. Consider the installation of fans or ventilation systems to promote air circulation and regulate temperature, ensuring a comfortable and conducive space for the animals to seek shelter.

By attending to these finishing touches and embracing proactive maintenance practices, you can uphold the quality and functionality of the loafing shed, ensuring that it continues to serve its intended purpose effectively and reliably. The combination of thoughtful finishing details and diligent maintenance efforts contributes to the shed's long-term resilience and value as an essential asset to your property.



In conclusion, the construction of a loafing shed represents a significant investment in the well-being of farm animals and the efficient management of farming operations. Throughout this comprehensive guide, we have explored the essential considerations and steps involved in building a functional and stylish loafing shed that aligns with the diverse needs of both livestock and property owners.

From understanding the fundamental purpose of a loafing shed to selecting the optimal location, materials, and design elements, each phase of the construction process plays a crucial role in shaping a durable and versatile shelter. By prioritizing factors such as drainage, ventilation, and structural integrity, individuals can create a space that not only offers protection from the elements but also contributes to the overall organization and efficiency of the farm or property.

The careful selection of materials, including lumber, roofing, siding, and hardware, ensures the longevity and resilience of the shed, while the thoughtful design and customization options allow for the creation of a visually appealing and personalized structure. The construction of the foundation, frame, walls, roof, and the addition of doors and windows collectively form a cohesive and well-integrated enclosure that serves as a valuable asset to any farm or property.

Furthermore, the incorporation of finishing touches and the implementation of proactive maintenance measures are essential for preserving the shed's functionality and aesthetic appeal over time. By attending to exterior finishes, regular inspections, drainage maintenance, pest control, seasonal upkeep, and interior comfort, individuals can uphold the quality and reliability of the loafing shed, ensuring its continued effectiveness in providing shelter and support for animals and equipment.

Ultimately, the successful construction of a loafing shed represents a harmonious blend of practical functionality, thoughtful design, and proactive care. By embracing the insights and guidelines presented in this guide, individuals can embark on a fulfilling journey of creating a shelter that not only meets the essential needs of farm animals but also adds a touch of charm and efficiency to their property.

With the right knowledge, resources, and dedication, the construction of a loafing shed becomes a rewarding endeavor that contributes to the well-being of animals, the organization of farm operations, and the overall enhancement of the property's functionality and visual appeal. As individuals embark on this fulfilling DIY project, they are poised to create a lasting and valuable asset that enriches their farm or property for years to come.

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