Some parts of Charlotte and Hinesburg accumulated more than 32 inches of snow during Winter Story Stella in March 2017.

Alison Kosakowski | Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, & Markets

When the snow comes down heavy and hard, it’s time for farmers to start thinking about barn roof safety. Heavy snow can put barn roofs at risk, but snow removal must be performed carefully. Removing snow without the proper approach can actually cause more damage, by creating an unbalanced load. Remember, your number one priority must to be protect your own safety. Farmers are encouraged to consider these safety tips when considering snow removal from a barn roof.

DO

  • consider a systematic approach. You need a plan.
  • listen for creaking or moaning – if your barn is built from wood, unusual sounds may indicate there’s trouble afoot.
  • look for bending or bowing rafters, headers, or columns. There are often visual cues to be found, if you look carefully at the structure.
  • ask for help. You can’t do this alone. Who is your back up? Is there anyone in your community with expertise or equipment, who might be willing to help?

DON’T

  • remove snow unequally from the roof. Unbalanced loads can create even more problems.
  • pile snow atop the roof. Do not simply move the snow from one area of the roof to another
  • attempt to clear the snow yourself. Make sure there are others nearby, helping and watching, in the event of a problem.

Most importantly, DO NOT PUT YOUR OWN SAFETY AT RISK.

For a full overview of the best way to remove snow from a barn roof, visit http://blogs.cornell.edu/beefcattle/files/2014/11/SnowRemoval-1f9lq43.pdf

Vermont farmers are critical to our landscape, heritage, economy, and communities. We have NONE TO SPARE! Be safe!