Straightline Fencing, based Knoxville, Tennessee, specializes in all types of agricultural fencing. Jimmy Clapp had been helping farmers with fencing specifications for land management and erosion control when demand snowballed. He started up the business 12 years ago. Now he’s a hands-on fencer, with one full-time and one part-time fencer and a keen eye for new staff to join the crew.
What was the first tool you owned?
That’s a long time ago! It would have been general tools, ratchet sockets, hammers, handed down to me from my father and grandfather.
Most rewarding part?
When we walk into a farm, put the cross-fencing up and make it functional for rotational grazing and cattle management. That’s the rewarding part, seeing that transition and how much easier we make it for the customer.
What surprises people the most about fencing?
Tennessee puts out a lot of cattle for the relative size of the farms around here so the thing that baffles people the most is the amount of footage of fence it takes to make a functional property.
What was the biggest obstacle in your career?
That is easy! Mother Nature – we can’t control her. The past two years for our area has been extremely wet. Our terrain here can be very steep. It can bemud up to your knees.
Advice to a newcomer coming into fencing
Find your niche in fencing and do what you enjoy.
What is a saying people associate with you?
We get into the job sites, some of them are more challenging than others – and you’ll hear this out of my mouth quite often, ‘If it was easy, everyone would do it’.
What do you look for in your tools?
I have been in business long enough now that I look for tools that will make things quicker and easier. That’s my best way to increase profits. Time is money so the faster we can do it, the better we are. Definitely, the Stockade ST400i post stapler has made life a lot simpler and fencing a lot quicker. The ST400i has drastically changed the way we work. We do high tensile, we do barbed wire, woven wire, sheep and goat fence. It has tremendously increased the efficiency on that.
What do you do with the extra time?
Move on to the next line!
My body reminds me every day that I am not as young as I used to be. I would love to move back from some of the physical work, bring someone in who could help to run the business for a while, and ultimately take it over when we are ready.