After much thought about a starting point to begin this blog I have concluded that we should go back to my initial exposure to the PasturePro post, over five years ago. I’ve been involved in the Agricultural Equipment Sales field for the past 15 years, with a personal focus on grazing supplies, and most particularly – high tensile and electric fencing. At the time I was operating Grassland Supply in Licking, Missouri.
I recall my exposure to this new fence post most vividly. I had been serving as a board member on the Missouri Forage & Grassland Council for a few years and had made some good contacts in that group. One of those is Mark Kennedy, the Grassland Specialist for NRCS for southern Missouri. He called me one day and said he had some samples of a product that I needed to take a look at.
I somewhat shrugged it off, and over the course of the next several months, I did stop by to visit with Mark. He gave me some samples of this new composite rod material that had been dropped off to him by the manufacturer. They wondered if it had any potential as a fence post. These samples were about 12” long and of different colors.
I took these samples back to the office with me and set them on my desk, where they stayed for probably another month. Mark called a couple times and asked if I had taken a look at them and what I thought. Feeling a little guilty of not following through on this I finally called the manufacturer one day and asked if we could get some longer samples in different lengths, to experiment with.
The following day, Dave Browning of Green Forest Composites showed up with the samples. Wow, what service as they were about a three hour drive away. (I later found out that Dave is also an avid trout fisherman and with the headwaters of the Current River being 10 minutes away from here it was a welcome sales call for him.)
I remember how amazed I was initially with these rods. They were very stiff in the foot long samples, however in the longer lengths, they were very flexible. You could bend them and they would return to their straight position. They were somewhat lightweight compared to the same diameter in a fiberglass rod. They were non-conductive and seemed to have some characteristics of what you would want in a line post for electric fencing.
I asked Dave lots of questions that day and he had real world answers to them all. I wanted to see how they would drive into the ground, so we went outside with a post driver and drove a few into the ground. Now, that’s when my eyes lit up. They drove easily. You could bend one all the way to the ground and it would just spring back up. This was too cool.
Dave Browning was giving me every sales pitch he had and kept emphasizing how tough they were and the benefits of the orientation process. He said something to the effect of “you could drive a truck over them.” Well, my truck wasn’t too far away, and I remember seeing a slight grimace on his face as I drove over the posts. They all just sprang right back up. Again, too cool. Dave’s grimace turned into a big beaming smile. Another interesting thing that day was the fact that even after bending them around and driving over them, they were still very hard to pull out of the ground.
Over the next months, we made several trips to the factory in Nevada, Missouri and educated ourselves on this new post product and process as quickly as we could. Dave Browning and Steve Wheeler were both very helpful in bringing us up to speed on the properties of this post.
We did everything imaginable that we could think of to find fault with it. We tried to break them, and in general make them fail. They held up amazingly well through all our testing. We put them on our farms and gave samples out to customers to try out and give us feedback. Most all of those customers came back wanting more.
The Original PowerFlex Post
We initially started out rather slowly, intentionally. Agriculture is an area that is slow to change and/or accept new concepts. Livestock producers have seen their fair share of “snake oil” and new products that haven’t lasted. There had already been several new post products made from recycled material that had not stood the tests of time.
We needed a name for the posts and began calling them PowerFlex posts, because of their potential in power fencing and their extreme flexibility. In retrospect I feel we initially did a good job of getting the posts into the hands of the right people. And from there – with hard work, advertising and web exposure – they have become a key component and wise choice for a line post for electric fencing. In 2006 I was part of establishing PowerFlex Fence, where I served as Sales Manager until the fall of 2009.
These first posts were put in the ground nearly six years ago. I’ve personally, made a point of checking in with those early customers and stopping by their farms and ranches to look at many of them. They are all doing a fine job. There has been no evidence of any concerns regarding their longevity and we expect them to outlive their warranty period of 20 years with no problems.
As an “ol’ fence guy” I feel fortunate to have been invited to some of the best grazing systems in North America. I’ve seen first hand what works and what doesn’t, regarding electric fencing. The platform of this blog will be to share some of what I have learned and my hands on experiences with the PasturePro post since its introduction over five years ago.
Over the next few months I plan to visit many of these older installations and put some interviews on this blog. I’d love to hear from some of my old customers!
Manufacturer’s Note: The PasturePro post was originally sold as the PowerFlex post and has been on the market since 2005. The PasturePro division within GFC was established to improve the product availability of the post in late 2009.