Governor Walker visits Birling Bovines Farm of Black Creek

On Wednesday, April 25, Governor Scott Walker visited Birling Bovines Farm to look over the damage from the aftermath of Blizzard Evelyn.
After surveying the damaged roof of one of the barns, Walker asked the family if the roof collapsed all in one piece? Dan Birling replied, “It all fell at one time. We were actually shoveling snow off the roof on the other end of the barn when the roof collapsed.
Sandy Chalmers, State Executive Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture said, “The weight of the snow was estimated to be around 69 pounds per square foot. That is a lot of weight for metal barn roofs. Chalmers also said the damage throughout the state is more widespread then you would think, other Wis. counties have reported damage also. She encourages farmers to report damage to their local Farm Service Agency office (FSA) to be eligible for possible federal relief.
“The damage we saw here, you’re thinking between this and some of the other structures, realistically, probably somewhere over $500,000 just for the structure. That doesn’t even account for all the other issues,” said Gov. Walker.
“I remember back being small where we seemed to have lots of snow but it was spread out over a period of time,” said Mike Birling. “Monday morning, we just started inspecting these barns. There were just a few cracked/curlings in this area so we moved all the animals out of this area. One section came down the next night and then the next day the other section came down.”
All animals are accounted for, but owner Mike Birling says there could be more challenges in the future. “They were stressed a lot so there could be long term problems, abortions or lost production later on,” Birling said.
Walker said “Damage from a snowstorm is unique and asks farmers to keep track of their blizzard-related costs and hand that on to the local farm service agent at the local level because we’ll collect that out through the state and then depending on the totals received, we could eventually make a request to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for assistance in that regard whether it’s low interest loans or other assistance.”
Chalmers also said that new this year, if a farmer has a sick cow or calf from pneumonia that occurred because of the stress of the storm the insurance would cover the cost or loss of those animals.
Cindy Birling said that they have well over 300 man hours on clearing the snow. “We have a great group of guys working for us, who worked around the clock to clear the snow. The Seymour fire department also assisted, removing the heavy snow with water.”
The Birling family is working with their insurance company.
On a lighter note, Walker joked with Mike Birling’s 11-year-old grandson, stating that he got out of school for the day so he should be smiling.
Governor Scott Walker visited Birling Bovines on Wednesday, April 25. Above, roof damage from Blizzard Evelyn on one of the Birling barns, below left; Walker talks to Mike Birling, below right; Walker jokes with Cindy Birling and her 11-year-old son. – Photos by Linda Titel

Above, Seymour’s Fire Chief Ron Vande Corput, right, and Governor Scott Walker at Birling Bovines on Wednesday, April 25. The Seymour Fire Department assisted with the snow removal from Blizzard Evelyn. Below,
Governor Walker gestures toward the damaged roof as he said, “Damage from a snowstorm is unique and asks farmers to keep track of their blizzard-related costs.” – Photos By Linda Titel

Governor Scott Walker talks to the Birling family on Wednesday, April 25. The Governor visited Birling Bovines of Black Creek to view the damages caused by Blizzard Evelyn on April 14 and 15. – Photo by Linda Titel