A record-setting fire has burned about 400,000 acres in northern Oklahoma last week, and ranchers in the area may get some help with recovery.
One of the most expensive costs will be replacing barbed wire fences. It can cost several thousands of dollars per mile to replace a typical five-strand fence. A mile of barbed wire costs about $240, plus posts, delivery and labor.
Madill-based Oklahoma Steel and Wire told The Journal Record’s Brian Brus it plans to work with the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association to keep costs down:
“We don’t see this disaster as an opportunity to make money,” [Oklahoma Steel & Wire Sales Manager Lou] Richards said. “We want to help out and assist Oklahomans and maybe get some recognition for the brand … We’re still overcoming some people’s mental block that their grandpa may have used some other wire for years.”
[Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association executive vice president Michael] Kelsey said the company is working in collaboration with the OCA to time its efforts to coincide with government grants and insurance programs in order to maximize the benefits to producers.
Richards said his company is an underdog in the barbed wire manufacturing industry because it’s only been around since 1979. Barbed wire has been used for agriculture since the mid-19th century.
Barbed wire sales are steady and growing, Richards said, because land owners and producers are constantly subdividing and consolidating. A good fence should last about 15 years, he said. Some of the damaged fencing may not need full replacement, but assessments across so many miles will be costly as well.
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