Heavy snow causes barn roof collapse
NORTH CANAAN — The roof of Elm Knoll Farm’s maternity barn collapsed under the weight of the snow in the early hours of Wednesday, March 15.
None of the staff at the farm in the East Canaan section of town were injured by the collapse, but two pregnant heifers were lost in the incident. The intact portion of the barn still houses about 350 cows and the remaining pregnant cows have been relocated to another area.
“I should be upset and worried. I’m really not,” said David Jacquier, owner of Elm Knoll Farm. “I’ve only been farming for 53 years, and mother nature is no problem.”
Jacquier and his crew have spent the last two days cleaning up rubble and debris. Elm Knoll is among the few remaining dairy farms in the area and Jacquier has every intention of returning to full force in due time.
“Next year my crop will be better,” said Jacquier. “I’ll bounce back. I’m 72 so my bouncing is getting a little slower than it used to be.”
In addition to cleaning up, the work of running a dairy farm continued without interruption.
“We had three calves yesterday,” said Jacquier as he showed the temporary maternity area.
“We’ve got to put a roof on. That’s it. The underneath structure is all okay,” said Jacquier. “At the moment I don’t know how I’m going to pay for it. I think it will be about $100,000.”
Jacquier said he does not expect insurance to cover the damage but is thankful to the community for starting a GoFundMe to help rebuild the roof (gofundme.com/f/raise-the-roof-at-elm-knoll-farm).
When told about the online support, Jacquier said, “I can’t believe that. That’s fantastic.”
Jacquier’s dedication to the community has gone well beyond a life of dairy farming. He served on the Canaan Board of Tax Review for over 20 years, was a Housatonic Valley Agricultural Education Advisory Committee Member, is a Housatonic Valley FFA Alumni Member, and a longtime supporter of the local Busy Farmers 4H Club.
Elm Knoll Farm is one of just 67 remaining dairy farms across the State of Connecticut. Jacquier plans to rebuild the barn as soon as possible and continue providing locally produced dairy to the Northwest corner for years to come.
“We’ll just clean up the mess probably here in the next four or five days and I will put out some feelers today here for a contractor to come put a roof on,” said Jacquier.