New Brunswick

Melrose dairy farmer grateful for community support after roof collapse

Roga Dairy Farm, near Port Elgin, N.B., faces a hefty $300,000 bill to repair their barn after extensive snow caused the roof to collapse while some of their cattle were still inside. A fundraiser is helping with the repair costs.

'I didn't know I was that good of a guy in the neighborhood, but I must be,' says Con Rommens

Roga Dairy Farm near Port Elgin is faced with a hefty $300,000 cost to repair their barn after extensive snow caused the roof to collapse while some of their cattle were still inside. (fundrazr.com)

One of the last things a farmer hopes to see is their barn fall apart in front of their eyes, but that's what happened to Con Rommens recently.

The owner of Roga Dairy Farm in Melrose, N.B., awoke in the middle of the night to find the roof had caved in after a mountainous gathering of snow on Feb 5.

"It was not very nice," said Rommens, who was emotionally shaken by the sight. "We walked in the barn at 4:30 a.m. and you see 10 feet of snow on top of the roof.

"I went and got my wife out of bed and we went with a flashlight all the way around to see the cattle were all right."

The damage did not kill any of the cattle in the barn, but an excavator was required to break two walls to rescue the few trapped cows.

Con Rommens is pictured here with his wife, Rose Rommens, at their farm, Roga Dairy Farm, near Port Elgin in Melrose, N.B. (fundrazr.com)

Due to the generosity of a neighbouring farm, Rommens said he was able to have 90 cattle transferred there while repairs begin.

The roof caving in is a heavy blow for the family, who do not have insurance to cover the damage, the area of which accounts for 25 per cent of the farm's infrastructure.

Rommens says he estimates the damage will cost the family upwards of $300,000, but he's waiting on carpenters to come back to him with the final figure.

Over three metres of snow had gathered on the roof, which caused it to collapse. (fundrazr.com)

The farm has 66-year history in the community and Rommens's sister, Melissa Rommens, started a fundraiser to try to cover the costs.

So far over $50,000 has been raised by almost 900 contributors. It's a gesture that Rommens and the family appreciate deeply.

"We were shocked ... We try to be friends with everybody and help them out whenever something happens and they're paying me back ... I didn't know I was that good of a guy in the neighborhood, but I must be," said Rommens with a laugh. 

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