A Delta Junction-area farmer is cleaning up from a barn fire that killed hundreds of chickens and other livestock that provided most of her livelihood. Brandy McClean is seeking help in an effort to save her business.
McLean was picking through the charred debris of what’s left of her barn last week, looking for anything that can be salvaged after the fire destroyed the structure on April 20th.
The fire eliminated her main livelihood, 500 laying hens, and many ducks, geese and turkeys that she also kept in the 16-by-32-foot, two story structure. It also destroyed bags of feed, hardware, and pretty much every tool she has.
McLean built the barn with her own money, and some donated by her parents. She’s been raising chickens for about eight years now, and has operated the Triple McLean Farms, just outside of Delta, for about 12 years, with the help of mainly her two sons, 8-year-old Codey, and Morgen, age 13.
She’s a woman of slight stature, 37 years of age, and she’s obviously a tough and dedicated farmer who’s determined to stay in business. But the barn wasn’t insured, and she must build a new one. So she’s asking for help, in the form of donations – cash, tools, feed, all the stuff needed to run a farm.
“I hate asking for help. I don’t do it, you know?” she said. “But this is how I raise my kids, and I have to” ask for help. “It’s kind of a Catch-22, because I’ve got to rebuild in order to make the money to support my family. But I don’t have the money to rebuild and do it.”
Despite the setback, she says she can’t stop to complain or recoup, because she’s got to keep working – especially now, the busiest time of year for a farmer.
“There’s always so much work to do,” she said. “Especially, with this late spring, y’know, getting to our crops planted, and getting the birds growing. And now we have more work to do to try and salvage and rebuild. And we will. We’re still in business. We want people to know we’re still in business.”
Read the full story and hear the interview with Brandy here:
- The pilot has not been identified. The Coast Guard says initial reports are that the pilot is responsive, but has chest pains.
- Sealaska just released its 2015 annual report, which illustrates its financial ups and downs. They affect more than 22,000 shareholders, who receive dividends twice a year.
- Juneau Bar Association asks Gov. Walker to consider geographic diversity before making his selection.
- Many of Alaska’s rural schools are not working. Low student performance and high teacher turnover are just two of more obvious indicators of problems in these mostly Native school districts. Those working in the schools say it’s time for radical changes.