20 cattle barns have collapsed in Minnesota under weight of heavy snow

All of the snow is taking a toll on dairy farmers.
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Dozens of cattle have died as a result of the roofs sheltering them collapsing under the weight of heavy snow in what's become a relentless Minnesota winter. 

According to Lucas Sjostrom, executive director of the Minnesota Milk Producers Association, there have been 20 barn roof collapses, either partial or complete collapses, in Minnesota this winter. 

The result is the loss of cattle, although a total count of the dead is unknown. 

During a typical Minnesota winter, Sjostrom tells BMTN that heavy snow is to blame for one or two roof collapses at dairy farms. This year's mind-boggling total, which doesn't include the many more that have collapsed in Wisconsin, is the most he can remember in any given year in at least a decade. 

This past week was especially nasty, with a foot of snow and blizzard conditions blasting southeast Minnesota and western Wisconsin. 

A cattle barn in Clear Lake, Wisconsin collapsed during the storm and social media reports suggest 50-60 cows were killed. 

In Olmsted County, near Chatfield, a partial collapse on Saturday followed by more of the barn roof caving in on Tuesday pushed a family to sell all 450 of their cattle, according to the Rochester Post Bulletin.  

At least 10 cattle died in the Saturday collapse and it's unclear how many more perished on Tuesday. 

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Sjostrom says the 20 collapses include traditional dairy barns with hay lofts and other smaller buildings with slightly slanted/curved roofs. 

Fortunately, Sjostrom says there haven't been any reports of injuries to farmers in any of the 20 Minnesota incidents. 

That isn't the case in Wisconsin. 

According to the Eau Claire County Sheriff's Office, a farmer blowing snow from the roof of a barn slipped and fell through a skylight and didn't survive the 30-foot drop. 

Most dairy farmers are insured so they can rebound from the loss of cattle and structures, according to Sjostrom, but it's insult to injury in what he called the "worst financial times for dairy farmers" since the 1980s farm crisis.  

Another 2-5 inches of snow expected Friday in central and southern Minnesota, only adding to worries farmers are facing. 

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