Read This: Agricultural Treasures Guidebook

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

I've got a great read for you today! Agricultural Treasures Guidebook, by renowned writer Cindy Ladage, is a deep look into 19 different agricultural treasures, mostly in the midwest (we ARE farm country, after all!). I grew up on a farm, and tractors, farming, and rural life were hallmarks of our town.

Learning more about and celebrating our agricultural treasures is both interesting and important. 

Read This: Agricultural Treasures Guidebook

Locations in the book include the John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum, the National Farm Toy Museum (and the Field of Dreams), the National Agricultural Center & Hall of Fame, the Swiss Heritage Village and Museum, Caterpillar Visitor's Center, Dyess Colony & Johnny Cash Boyhood Home, American Tractor Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright’s first Prairie Style designed home, and more. Cindy also includes recommendations to eat, see, and do around each treasure (thank you!).

Whether you are interested in learning more about these locations, or planning your travels to include them, this is an incredible resource.

Highly recommended!

Author Cindy Ladage is a farmer’s wife, presenter, and an award-winning journalist and columnist for Farm World. In 2018 and 2016, she won the American Women in Communications Clarion award, and she has been a bronze winner and finalist in the North American Travel Journalists Association. In 2020, Luxe Magazine voted her the Best Rural & Urban Travel Writer–Midwest USA for her blog.

Cindy writes for antique tractor and collector publications and specializes in travel stories for several publications like Senior News & Times of Illinois and more. Cindy’s travel blog is Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl, where she shares her travels on the back roads and byways. In her writing, Cindy shares her passion for preserving agriculture and promoting agri-tourism and rural areas.

Cindy is also an author of children’s books and adult fiction. Cindy lives on a farm in central Illinois and has three grown children and two grandchildren. Cindy is retired from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, where she worked with the Illinois Radon Program.

We were lucky enough to talk with Cindy, and ask her about her new book, inspiration, joys and challenges, and more. Here's what she had to say...

Author Cindy Ladage. From Read This: Agricultural Treasures Guidebook

Please tell us about your new book, Agricultural Treasures Guidebook...
Agricultural Treasures Guidebook is a book covering some of my favorite agricultural treasures I have found during my travels. Along with the agricultural treasures, there is also a grouping of “What Else” there is to do in the area, so that this is not a one stop guide.

What led you/inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired by my desire and passion for agricultural preservation. I am a farmer’s wife, and we have been married for over 40 years, and during the decades, I have seen great changes in the farming world. These agricultural treasures help retain the history of farming (whether a tractor museum that shares manufacturing history, or a mansion of an ag giant); agricultural history comes in a wide variety of forms that make traveling to these places not just educational, but fun.

What might people be surprised to discover, in your book?
People will be surprised to find the inclusion of windmills, a historic hotel, mansions, and more. I think they may assume that every stop is a museum. The “What Else” is also something that they may not think would be included.

You focus mainly on the midwest, but certainly made me want to travel to each spot! How did you decide which treasures to include?
It was so hard trying to discover which places to include. The Midwest and beyond are filled with so many things to see and do! There are really enough that I could do a 2nd edition without any problem! I went with some of the most distinctive places, along with some smaller venues that may not be highlighted if not mentioned; I also tried to keep to a variety of agricultural stops.

Bollinger Mill State Historic Site, Bufordville, Missouri. From Read This: Agricultural Treasures Guidebook
Bollinger Mill State Historic Site, Bufordville, Missouri

What were the joys and challenges of researching your book?
The joys of writing the book was seeing places that I love in a format that others can learn about, travel to, and enjoy. I also am excited to share these agricultural stories and hopefully bring visitors to these in some cases remote sites. 

The challenge was trying to select what site to profile and hoping that I do it justice. I also had to rely on collaboration with the help of Megan Bannister, Olio LLC that did the graphics and the set up for this project. Without her help, and that of Emilee Nowak who takes care of the technical aspect of my blog, Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl, the project never would have reached completion.

What's up next for you?
Right now I am focusing on trying to get the word out about the book, and perhaps starting on a 2nd edition, or else an Architectural Treasures Guidebook!

Butterworth Center & Deere-Wiman House, Moline, Illinois. From Read This: Agricultural Treasures Guidebook
Butterworth Center & Deere-Wiman House, Moline, Illinois

How can people find your work? 
The book and articles I have written appear on my website, Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl. My writing also appears in Green Magazine, Red Power, Toy Farmer, Senior News & Times for Illinois. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me!

You can also join her on:
Facebook -
Pinterest - Cindy Ladage (farmwriter) 


All photos courtesy and copyright Cindy Ladage, published with permission