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Ag building collapses under weight of ice and snow

Lead Summary
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Lori Sorenson

An ag shop building collapsed Saturday afternoon at Ahrendt Bros. feedlot after several inches of snow on the roof became too heavy for the structure to support.
Jeff and Troy Ahrendt had just finished feeding cattle that afternoon around 3:30 when the roof fell in on top of the equipment stored inside the 52-by-100-foot shop.
“It’s an older building, but it’s where we park our pay loaders, feed truck, tractor and manure spreader, tractor and hay buster …,” Jeff Ahrendt said.
“We had everything parked in there, and the way the roof came down, it sort of set down on top of everything. If we’d had only two or three things in there, they might have been damaged worse.”
Jeff said he and Troy had just expressed concern over the mounting snow — more than 10 inches — on the tin roof of the Morton building five miles north of Luverne.
“But what do you do? It’s not like you’re going to climb up there and scoop it off,” he said. “You’re at the mercy of Mother Nature.”
Jeff said he and his brothers and their families are grateful for generous neighbors and friends who helped out.
“I bet we had 30 people here at one point, and that was great,” Jeff said. “Thanks to all the guys who helped.”
Cleveringa Construction workers brought two telescopic handlers to lift sections of the collapsed roof in order to retrieve one piece of equipment out at a time from the rubble.
“We really only had minor damage to our equipment, even though the shop is a total loss,” he said.
The wood-framed structure was built in 1975, but Jeff said the operation had invested time and resources into insulating it and double tinning the walls, so it was a useful building that will need to be replaced.
“It’s Minnesota, and I haven’t complained much about this winter,” he said. “But after Saturday, I complained a little.”
The Ahrendt shed collapse is among an increasing number of properties statewide that have been damaged by snow accumulating on rooftops.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the governor’s office and state legislators are considering options to help farmers rebuild after destruction caused by snow-laden rooftops.