High-tensile fence-building field day at Marquardt farm – June 27, near Van Meter

For Release: June 16, 2015

VAN METER, Iowa — Building a high-tensile fence isn’t hard, but livestock farmer Ryan Marquardt says if you’ve never done it before there are a lot of mistakes you can make.

“For instance, you can make too many intersections, and every time you have an intersection you have to have a whole other set of strainers,” says Ryan, referring to the ratchet device that helps tighten and tension the fence. “They will probably need some maintenance, and some strainers are easier to maintain than others.”

Ryan and his wife, Janice Marquardt, operate Wild Rose Pastures near Van Meter, raising pastured chicken, turkey, eggs and 100 percent grass-fed beef. Ryan has been building high-tensile fence using a variety of construction methods for eight years on two different farms, and will share his expertise at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day on Saturday, June 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., near Van Meter. The event – “Hands-On High-Tensile Fence-Building Workshop” – is free to attend, and will include lunch. RSVPs are requested for the meal. Please contact Lauren Zastrow at (515) 232-5661 or lauren@practicalfarmers.org by Wednesday, June 24. The farm is located at 2342 105th St., about 4 miles southwest of town.

Attendees will learn the basics of corner construction, running high-tensile line, grounding and the best places to source (and not source) materials. Ryan will be able to explain different construction methods for building high-tensile fence – such as H-frame, floating corners, different strainer types, wood versus fiberglass posts and more. He will also discuss different tools that can be used to build high-tensile fence, what to look for in energizers – including when running electrified net fencing off energized high-tensile lines –and will be able to explain the benefits and challenges of installing this kind of fence.

“Choosing a fence is something you need to think about,” Ryan says. “A high-tensile fence will probably take some maintenance. It’s not what I would consider a temporary fence – but it’s much cheaper and faster to install. Barbed wire would be the next best price point, but will require more posts, which are part of the cost difference. And handling barbed wire is a pain.”

After the discussion, the group will break for lunch. The field day will feature hands-on work – so guests who want to try their hand at construction should bring work gloves, and clothes and shoes they don’t mind getting muddy.

Wild Rose Pastures was started in 2007 north of Pella, and moved to its current location near Van Meter in late 2014. Ryan and Janice just moved onto this family farm; Ryan is the fifth generation to farm it. Ryan and Janice purchased 20 of the farm’s 800 acres in 2013, and just finished building a house this year.

Directions from I-80: Take the Adel exit (U.S. 169) south 2 miles to 105th Street (you’ll see a large radio antenna). Turn east on 105th Street and go 1.5 miles; you’ll see a green-and-white Cleary building on a hill.

From the south (Winterset): Go north on U.S. 169 to 105th Street (you’ll see a large radio antenna). Turn east on 105th Street and go 1.5 miles; you’ll see a green-and-white Cleary building on a hill.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2015 field day season features 40 field days around Iowa. All field days are open to the public, and most are free to attend. The guide is available online at practicalfarmers.org, or contact the PFI office at (515) 232-5661 to request a printed copy.

Practical Farmers’ 2015 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Applegate Natural & Organic Meats; BlueStem Organic Feed Mill; Center for Rural Affairs; Featherman Equipment Company; Grain Millers, Inc.; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa Farm Service Agency (USDA); Iowa Farmers Union in partnership with Town and Country Insurance and Hastings Mutual Insurance; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; Iowa State University Extension and Outreach; Iowa Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH); ISU Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture; Klinkenborg Aerial Spraying and Seeding, Inc.; La Crosse Seed; Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); MOSA Organic Certification; National Wildlife Federation; Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); Organic Valley – Organic Prairie – CROPP Cooperative; The Nature Conservancy in Iowa; Pro-Soil Ag Solutions; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; and Welter Seed and Honey Company.


Founded in 1985, Practical Farmers of Iowa is an open, supportive and diverse organization of farmers and friends of farmers that seeks to strengthen farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Farmers in our network produce corn, soybeans, beef cattle, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. For additional information, call (515) 232-5661 or visit https://www.practicalfarmers.org.


Ryan and Janice Marquardt | Wild Rose Pastures | (515) 460-8150 – (Ryan’s cell); (515) 460-7150 – (Janice’s cell) | wildrosepastures@gmail.com | www.wildrosepastures.com

Tamsyn Jones | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | tamsyn@practicalfarmers.org