Winter weather causes damage to Wisconsin farms

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- As Wisconsin continues to get hit with heavy snow some farmers are seeing severe damage from the winter weather.

Huntsinger Farm Inc. in Eau Claire says when staff arrived around 6am they found the roof of one of their 184-foot barns that was built in 1980 caved in.

Farm manager Ken Traaseth says the barn housed farm machinery and when the roof collapsed it damaged tractors and harvesting equipment.

“It's an expense we don't look forward to,” said Traaseth. “I mean insurance is not going to cover 100% of it either the equipment, or the tractors, the building either way we still have to come up with the money to foot the bill.”

The farm is still waiting on insurance estimates but says it will try and salvage the farm equipment that was inside the barn when it collapsed.

“I think most of it is salvageable. We've got a truck in there that's got some roof damage on it. A tractor that's got some roof damage but I think with some tender loving care we'll get it back up and running again,” added Traaseth.

Eau Claire County’s UW-Extension says older barns weren't held to the building standards of newer structures and that can mean they're subject to more damage.

Agricultural agent Mark Hagedorn said, “The problem is you start getting large amounts of snow on buildings that don't have quite the rafter system in them that they could, should or need to have.
Hence the building collapses and then whatever happens to be underneath, be it beast, machinery or even worse humans, damage can occur.”

In the area Hagedorn says there have been at least four barn buildings collapse so farmers should keep an eye out for more snowfall and be sure to clear off their barn roofs.

“Keep an eye on it and hope for a little bit of warmer weather to melt this off and everybody needs to be safe,” added Hagedorn.

With more winter weather forecasted for this week UW-Extension says farmers should use a rake or get someone in to help clear off their barn roofs.