The farming community extending across the Alberta and Montana border is reaching out to provide support to Milford Colony, near Augusta, Montana, in the wake of a devastating barn fire that destroyed the main hog barn and killed over 3,100 pigs.

Connect OnFarm, based in Lethbridge, Alberta, a major feed supplier and nutrition program consultant to the colony, has announced a donation of $10,000 to support recovery efforts. Connect OnFarm joins many who have offered support in a variety of ways following the blaze, and is encouraging others to provide assistance whether through funding, donation of tools and supply or hands-on help.

"Milford Colony is a great customer of Connect OnFarm. But more than that, through our close relationship, they have truly become a part of our family and we want to stand alongside them in this time of need," says Cal Ginter, part of the Connect OnFarm team along with Wes Friesen and Cleuza Friesen. "On behalf of myself, Wes and Cleuza, we are pleased to provide this donation as part of our ongoing support for Milford Colony. All of our thoughts and prayers are with them in their recovery."

"There's business and then there's friendship," adds Wes Friesen. "Our relationship with Milford Colony goes deep both ways. This donation is the least we can do. We are thankful to everyone who is lending a hand to Milford Colony, to help the farming operation get back on its feet."

The fire happened on April 18. The 300-by-90-foot barn contained pigs from 50 pounds to market weight of about 285 pounds. There is some insurance, but the insurance process will take time and it's uncertain at this point what can be recovered financially. Thankfully no people were killed or injured in the fire. The farm is diversified with crops and other livestock but the pig business represented a significant contribution to the revenue of the community.

"We are grateful to everyone for their support," says Joe Wipf, hog manager of Milford Colony. "Everything that happened is still very fresh right now and it will take some time for us to plan the steps ahead. We just finished up with the cleanup. We know we will rebuild, but we're not sure when. Hopefully we can start later this year."

Others who would like to provide support to Milford Colony are asked to contact the colony directly. Please contact Milford Colony secretary Ben Wipf at phone: 406-562-3533, email: or fax: 406-562-3396.