Sunday, March 08, 2009

Another Article from The Local Paper

The New Brunswick farming community has once again pulled together for the Bourque family in Lincoln.

BARN RAISING: The Bourque family of Lincoln is getting a new barn the old-fashioned way by having friends and family take part in a barn raising to replace the barn that collapsed. Above, George Bourque, right, pries braces off roof trusses as he works along with volunteers Thursday.

The Bourques' barn collapsed in January, trapping about 70 cows and killing three. Farmers and community members spent more than five hours rescuing the animals.

Now the same group of volunteers - and dozens more - are helping the Bourques rebuild the massive barn.

"George and his family are just great people, so no one hesitated to help when they heard of the family's plight," said Mark Bennett, a Lincoln-area resident. "It's just incredible the number of people who have been to the farm helping out. They all have their own families and work to look after, but they're making time to get this family back on its feet."

George Bourque, a third-generation farmer, said he would have a hard time getting his family's dairy business back to normal without the assistance of the community.

The old barn wasn't insured, and the estimated loss was more than $100,000.

"Labour costs account for about 40-50 per cent of any big job, so it's a big relief to have these guys here to help out," Bourque said, as six men pounded nails into the new structure behind him.

"At this rate, we should have the barn ready for the cows in a couple weeks."

Donations, from as far away as Virginia, have been pouring in since their story was posted on an online blog.

A load of hay was sent to them from a farm in Ottawa, and the local church, the Lion's Club and the Knights of Columbus are planning a fundraiser.

"My grandfather helped people, my father helped people and I try to help people because that's what the farming community does," Bourque said. "What goes around comes around. We look after one another - it's part of how we make it in this business."

The structure of the new barn is in place and the rafters are up, but there's still a lot of work to do before it's finished.

Bourque said it's a massive undertaking because it has to be big enough to hold about 120 animals.

Until the construction is finished, the Bourque family's milking cows are staying in another barn on their farm. Their younger cows are being housed at a farm in Keswick.

"We were going to wait until the spring to rebuild, but it's important to get the cows back into a routine as soon as possible so their milk production doesn't drop," Bourque said.

"The current setup also adds about three hours onto our normal workload, so it's definitely going to be good to get things back to normal. We can't thank everyone enough for helping us get to that point."


Julia said...

As you can see this photo was taken earlier last week.

All the strapping and bracing on the roof are now in place. The steel roof is set to go up on Tuesday provided the the weather cooperate. They can't put it on if it is windy because the metal sheets are 28 feet long by 36 wide and would be difficult to handle safely.

One note about this article. Our barn and the cattle were insured but we were not covered for barn collapse.


Anonymous said...

Barn weaving at its best.