Farmer who lost 100+ animals in tragic fire had no insurance

September 18, 2017 06:56 PM

FORT ANN - For firefighters, it was a worse-case scenario, but not just because there were two wooden barns on fire with more than one hundred animals inside. Compounding the problem, the barns were filled with hay, and on Dewey's Bridge Road, a country road in rural Washington County, firefighters aren't exactly close by.

"We live out here in the country and as far as as getting any fire (coverage), they have to come from quite a distance," says Marsha Grant, a Fort Ann resident.

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By the time Richard Burch realized his barns were on fire late Sunday afternoon, all he could do was try to save as many farm animals as he could.

"I"m sorry I couldn't get my pigs out," he said.

Burch says 90 pigs died in the fire. Thirty of his dairy cows never made it out. Some of the surviving animals were rounded up Sunday night, but many piglets were seen running around the property after sunrise on Monday. That's why Marsha Grant stopped by.

"I've been known to cowgirl their cows and their piglets when they got loose in the middle of the night," Grant says.

If you've never tried it, getting your arms wrapped around a slippery, frightened piglet is not an easy thing to do.

"I'm hoping people in the neighborhood, people in the community will come out and help him," Grant says, "Without their help, he's not going to have anything."

Richard and Lucy Burch have been farming 300-plus acres of land on Dewey's Bridge Road in Fort Ann for more than 30 years. They have more than one million dollars invested in the operation but unfortunately their livelihood is in deep trouble.

"We didn't have insurance," Burch said, "The only thing that might be insured is my pick-up truck."

State Ag & Markets stands ready to help care for the surviving animals, and FarmNet, a Cornell University organization, receives state funding to help farmers by offering counseling and business assistance, especially during times of crisis.



Dan Levy

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