Fire destroys Montana hog operation

Farming community providing support to Milford Colony after fire kills more than 3,100 pigs in April.

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

Connect OnFarm based in Lethbridge, Alb., a 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, donations of tools and supplies or hands-on help.

"Milford Colony is a great customer of Connect OnFarm. 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," said Cal Ginter, part of the Connect OnFarm team, along with Wes Friesen and Cleuza Friesen.

The fire happened at around 6:00 p.m. April 18. The 300 ft. x 90 ft. barn contained pigs weighing from 50 lb. to a market weight of about 285 lb. 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," said 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 are asked to contact the colony directly. Please contact Milford Colony secretary Ben Wipf at (406) 562-3533 or email

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