Wisconsin farmers will be polled about the ability of their farms’ buildings to withstand stresses from heavy snow, wind and other factors.
The University of Wisconsin-Extension survey will start on Oct. 1, with part of the survey’s kickoff being done through a UW-Extension booth at next week’s World Dairy Expo in Madison.
“The survey is designed to get information from farmers in relationship to buildings that failed this past year and, actually, we’ll be going back all the way to 2010,” said Buffalo County UW-Extension ag agent Carl Duley, who’s one of it the survey’s organizers.
Duley said farmers will be asked about specific buildings the farmers had weather-related issues with, what the design standards of those buildings might have been and what was housed in those buildings.
Wisconsin farm buildings are exempt from code regulations.
“There isn’t a lot of information out there about how many agricultural structures are designed by an engineer – by a licensed engineer – and what kind of designs those were, or even what the ages were,” Duley said.
The Wisconsin Frame Buildings Association and builders have been working with survey organizers. Duley said the intent isn’t to consider removing ag buildings from codes such as those required for commercial, public or residential buildings. Instead, he said, the intent is to work on educational programs to help farmers see benefits in having buildings constructed to minimum engineering standards for snow-loads and wind-resistance.
The survey will be offered online. Duley said it will ask for the participating farmers’ name and contact information, but that providing personal details isn’t important to the people compiling the information. Knowing the status of state farm buildings is the important part, he said.
Information about the survey will be available through county UW-Extension offices, he said.