Minnesota dairy farmers see unusual number of barn collapses

Dairy farmers across Minnesota are struggling to find shelter for hundreds of livestock after at least 45 barns collapsed under the weight of this winter's heavy snow.

Posted: Mar 15, 2019 1:52 PM

PINE ISLAND, Minn. (AP) — Dairy farmers across Minnesota are struggling to find shelter for hundreds of livestock after at least 45 barns collapsed under the weight of this winter's heavy snow.

Some farmers lost animals in the dairy barn collapses, while others are scrambling to keep their livestock healthy, the Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Laura Alberts, a sixth-generation dairy farmer near Pine Island, watched the family barn's roof cave in a few days ago after the snow was made heavier by recent rains. The barn is completely destroyed and Alberts is waiting to figure out how much insurance money they will receive to rebuild.

She said her family is lucky because not one calf was lost during the collapse, and 125 animals are being moved to two different sites.

Several of Alberts' neighbors lost livestock to buckling barn structures. Jason Reber said he lost six milk cows when a barn he was renting collapsed recently, and he expects to have to put eight more down because of injuries.

Reber said the losses could cost him about $14,000, and he's still looking for places to house his surviving cattle.

The Minnesota Milk Producers Association said usually only one or two barns collapse in a typical winter. But Minnesota has suffered particularly heavy snowfall this time around, and in February alone, Minneapolis-St. Paul experienced a record-setting 39 inches (99 centimeters) of snow.

Lucas Sjostrom, the association's executive director, attributes the high volume of barn collapses this season in part to the excessive weight and volume of the snow, aging structures and building designs that are open to promote ventilation.

Gov. Tim Walz warned March 9 that the state's economy is under threat from the proliferation of dairy barn collapses this winter. Minnesota lawmakers unanimously passed legislation Thursday to help farmers repair buildings damaged by the heavy snow. The bill expands a disaster recovery loan program to include damage related to winter weather.

The Minnesota Milk Producers Association is also asking lawmakers to approve at least $30 million in assistance for farmers facing a tough time. The group plans to consult with farm experts and insurance companies about how to prevent future barn collapses.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture officials have also recorded at least 20 hog barn and 20 poultry barn collapses.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 489116

Reported Deaths: 6614
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1014901592
Ramsey43327810
Dakota36619394
Anoka33496391
Washington22208262
Stearns18822202
St. Louis14887265
Scott13403107
Wright12609116
Olmsted1185990
Sherburne878574
Carver787641
Clay695588
Rice677691
Blue Earth601035
Kandiyohi581274
Crow Wing523582
Chisago501745
Otter Tail486071
Benton450990
Winona419749
Mower410831
Douglas394568
Goodhue389069
Nobles387247
Polk345063
McLeod341250
Beltrami338951
Morrison327747
Becker314842
Itasca314646
Lyon313845
Isanti309456
Steele303611
Carlton300449
Freeborn286424
Pine283216
Nicollet262441
Todd249730
Brown248237
Le Sueur238120
Mille Lacs229447
Cass221224
Waseca210417
Meeker208134
Martin190829
Wabasha18733
Roseau181017
Hubbard161041
Houston158214
Dodge15404
Renville152640
Redwood147127
Fillmore13969
Pennington138716
Chippewa136935
Cottonwood136020
Wadena131420
Faribault124917
Aitkin119133
Sibley118310
Watonwan11828
Rock116314
Kanabec108820
Pipestone101824
Yellow Medicine97717
Murray9548
Jackson94610
Swift87818
Pope8165
Marshall78615
Stevens7478
Lake74218
Clearwater72014
Lac qui Parle68716
Wilkin67711
Koochiching62111
Big Stone5173
Lincoln5122
Grant4928
Norman4798
Unassigned44768
Mahnomen4437
Kittson41021
Red Lake3615
Traverse3115
Lake of the Woods2221
Cook1190

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 337676

Reported Deaths: 5494
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk52087560
Linn19512317
Scott17167212
Black Hawk14970293
Woodbury13847214
Johnson1317075
Dubuque12450196
Dallas1022593
Pottawattamie9897146
Story965045
Warren514976
Clinton502684
Cerro Gordo501383
Webster495788
Sioux480369
Marshall465273
Des Moines428461
Muscatine426393
Buena Vista413237
Wapello4059110
Jasper387767
Plymouth368978
Lee354653
Marion341571
Jones285155
Henry279837
Bremer270555
Carroll266948
Crawford253635
Boone244330
Benton241154
Washington239547
Mahaska215746
Jackson210339
Dickinson204240
Tama203065
Kossuth198655
Delaware186240
Clay184425
Winneshiek183628
Fayette179335
Page178119
Buchanan177829
Wright174531
Hamilton173942
Cedar172723
Hardin170239
Harrison167670
Clayton160254
Butler159331
Mills148520
Floyd148141
Poweshiek148030
Cherokee146236
Lyon145741
Allamakee144848
Madison143218
Iowa140723
Hancock138030
Grundy132430
Winnebago130531
Calhoun129611
Cass129651
Jefferson128634
Appanoose123247
Louisa122644
Mitchell120740
Chickasaw119915
Union119331
Sac118818
Shelby117634
Emmet115340
Humboldt113725
Franklin109719
Guthrie109628
Palo Alto101721
Howard99722
Unassigned9720
Montgomery96936
Clarke95120
Keokuk92429
Monroe90028
Ida81832
Adair81630
Pocahontas80919
Davis76623
Monona76527
Greene73110
Lucas72221
Osceola68315
Worth6678
Taylor64112
Decatur5719
Fremont5619
Van Buren53718
Ringgold50620
Audubon4759
Wayne47221
Adams3194
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 45°
Mason City
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 40°
Albert Lea
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 41°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 39°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 34°
Kicking off the workweek with warmer temperatures
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Mary Kristin Scott PKG

Image

Tailgate service

Image

Fewer babies being born

Image

Sara's Sunday Night Forecast

Image

Blooming Prairie GBB PKG

Image

Sara's Saturday Night Forecast

Image

Olmsted County Fair asks for help from lawmakers

Image

RPU energy saving tips

Image

Officials hold roundtable on "reskilling" Minnesota's workforce

Image

Sen. Smith calls for COVID-19 relief bill to ensure vaccines are completely free for all

Community Events