Rebuilding Fences a Slow but Important Task

July 13, 2017 01:36 PM

The wildfires that tore through more than 1.5 million acres in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and Colorado in March destroyed an estimated more than 18,000 miles of fencing.

AgDay's Betsy Jibben travelled to Texas to learn more about the ongoing work being done to repair the fences damaged this spring. 

Many of the fences hit by the fires have been around for decades, the posts made of cedar wood. And even where metal posts have replaced wood, the extreme heat of the wildfires has damaged barbed wire, leaving the entire fence in a weakened state.

Though it varies, the estimated cost of replacing fence is $10,000 per mile, and may not be covered by insurance. Wes Avent, general manager of the Canadian Animal Health and Nutrition Store says ranchers may not have fences rebuilt for several months.

"It will take several months to rebuild all the fences," Avent says. "Most people are working on their perimeter fences, and then when they get a little more time, they'll start working on their interior fences."

Rebuilding fences is a long, arduous task. Avent says it can take a four-man crew a full week to put up a mile of fence.

Donations have come in to help farmers and ranchers, but not at the same pace as is needed.

Want to help out with the efforts to rebuild fencing destroyed by the wildfires? You only have a few more weeks to donate to the Droves/Farm Journal Foundation Million Dollar Wildfire Relief Challenge. Every dollar donated is matched by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, up to a million dollars. To learn more, visit

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