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Farming community rallies to support eastern Ontario family that lost livestock in fire – CTV News Ottawa

After a tragic fire killed their beloved livestock, a farming family in eastern Ontario is getting a wave of support from the agriculture community.
On March 10, Jennifer Leadbeater was just about to sit down to dinner, when her barn went up in flames. 
"When I looked up, I saw the smoke starting to come up from the back of the barn," she says.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but the fire quickly consumed the main barn, chicken coop and equipment.
In all, two pregnant cows, all the pigs and dozens of chickens and ducks were lost in the flames.
"Those cows were no different than our dogs in the house," says Leadbeater. "They were dogs. So it hurts. It hurts a lot."
The horses were spared, but the more than 30 of them have now been displaced.
Employee Valerie Lacasse says they were part of the family.
"They’re not just horses," she says. "They’re not just livestock to us. They’re our family as well. This was their home."
But after news of the fire spread throughout the agriculture community, there has been a massive outpouring of support.
On Thursday and Friday alone, farmers from across the region donated 40 bales of hay to the family to feed the livestock for the next few weeks. 
A fundraiser organized by Kingston’s Pure Country 99, which is owned by Bell Media, brought together farmers like Kevin MacLean to help out. 
"It’s heart-warming. It touches you a little bit. Puts a lump in your throat," says McLean of all the hay.
He says he and others knew they wanted to help immediately.
"It really hits home when you see (a fire)," McLean says. "It makes you think this could happen to me. You know? What could happen if this happens at my farm."
There’s also been support from farmers in Ottawa, and as far as Sault Ste. Marie.
The fire caused $1.3 million in damages. Donated money and equipment will help through the spring months. 
"This is everyone’s worst fear in the farming community," says Adam Hunt, whose family used to own the farm and who is supporting the rebuild efforts. "We want nothing more than to help people get back on their feet."
 As the last bale of hay is stacked high, the long road to rebuild, made a little easier.
 "Without them I don’t even know where we would be right now," says Leadbeater. "So that’s the thing I’m most grateful and thankful for is the community."
A GoFundMe page has been set up to support the family.
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