Mending Fences

Teresa Olson
By Teresa Olson March 19, 2018 17:41 Updated

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Robert Frost once said, Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.

 

These “walls” made of various materials over the years have served many purposes.  In agriculture, fences primarily kept livestock on and predators (both animal and human) off of your property.  But farmers who are renting or trying to farm their land to its fullest potential are looking at these barricades as a hindrance to making money.

 

Fencerows, especially those that are not maintained properly, can mean many feet of nontillable space around your field edges.  That land can’t be rented for production even though you’re paying for it; it can’t be planted even though you owe real estate taxes on it.  Fences not maintained can harbor unwanted trees, create border disputes if they’ve been installed improperly, and injure or kill someone if they’ve deteriorated.

 

If you have fences that need repair you can estimate costs (for posts with galvanized woven wire, welded wire, or 4 strands of barbed wire) at about $1 per foot.  That doesn’t sound so bad until you consider the big picture…

 

So what should you do?  I would suggest first that you get educated regarding your state’s fence laws.  I found this website to be helpful:  http://nationalaglawcenter.org/state-compilations/fence-laws/  You may find that there are other things to consider:  in Minnesota for instance, if you have a neighbor whose land meets yours and he wants a fence, then you have to comply – and both parties must share the expense and maintenance.  If one of you doesn’t hold up your end of the responsibility, the other party can complain and take action to rectify the situation.  Take care so that you don’t have to mend another type of fence.

 

But as long as you have a good relationship with your neighbor, there could be other options that might satisfy the both of you.  Many ideas have been implemented that mark boundaries without using fencing, and if the two of you agree on another option, this might be a good time to hire a surveyor if you want to verify borderlines when making changes:

 

  • Stack 3 old tires and fill them with rock, painting them if desired.
  • Drill post holes, pound in re-bar and pour in some concrete.  Some have also placed PVC pipe over the re-bar and capped it.
  • Use treated wooden posts (railroad ties).
  • “T” posts with a plastic milk jug securely fastened to the top.

Give your plans some careful thought before you take action.  I think you’ll be glad you did.

 

-Terry Olson, Titan Outlet Store Team

 

References:

https://www.agriculture.com/farm-management/farm-land/clear-fence-rows-find-money?utm_source=ag-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=todaysnews_030818&did=226349

https://www.homesteadingtoday.com/threads/creative-ways-to-mark-property-lines.264224/

nationalaglawcenter.org/state-compilations/fence-laws/

Teresa Olson
By Teresa Olson March 19, 2018 17:41 Updated
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2 Comments

  1. Joe March 22, 08:52

    This goes back to the Earl Butz days of spending 30,000 to clear out an acre of wildlife habitat so you could make another 100 per year. Of course when you look at the erosion around here we may not be farming a lot of this ground because it will be down by New orleans. Pretty stupid thinking, ripping out fence to what lose another 75 on a 1/5 of an acre. This is not stewardship this is irresponsible farming. We used to have grass waterways now those are gone yet when we had those no farmers needed to have earthmoving equipment other than a 6 foot blade. Today they often fix erosion with big equipment. Maybe we should have prevented the erosion in the first place so we could keep on farming!

    Reply to this comment
    • Teresa Olson Author March 23, 09:33

      Thanks for reading this blog and giving your input Joe. You cited more examples of folks unable or unwilling to see the “big picture”!
      -Terry Olson, Titan Outlet Store Team

      Reply to this comment
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