Laws Concerning Fences

I’ve worked in the fencing industry on and off for several years and many people do not know what the laws are concerning agricultural fences. Every state has a university extension that will usually give you the guidelines and laws. In Missouri there is the general fence law and the local fence option law. There are many counties that have opted out for the general fence law.

Here are some of the main questions that the extension website will answer. Who is legally responsible for building and maintaining a boundary fence? How is “livestock owner” defined in the updated general fence law?  What if my neighbor puts livestock against the boundary fence after I have built it? What portion of the fence am I required to maintain? Aren’t I responsible for only the part of the fence where the wire is on my side of the posts?

What is a legal fence in the state of Missouri?
General fence law
“A fence consisting of posts and wire or boards at least 4 feet high which is mutually agreed upon by adjoining landowners or decided upon by the associate circuit court of the county is a lawful fence. All posts shall be set firmly in the ground not more than 12 feet apart with wire or boards securely fastened to such posts and placed at proper distances apart to resist horses, cattle and other similar livestock” (RSMo 272.020).

general fence law this is an example of a General Fence Law.

Local option fence law
A lawful fence is “a fence with not less than four boards per 4 feet of height; said boards to be spaced no farther apart than twice the width of the boards used fastened in or to substantial posts not more than 12 feet apart with one stay, or a fence of four barbed wires supported by posts not more than 15 feet apart with one stay or 12 feet apart with no stays, or any fence which is at least equivalent to the types of fences described herein” [RSMo 272.210(1)]. “Stays” are vertical supports that are attached to each horizontal wire of a fence.

local option fence this is an example of Local Option Fence Law.

If you happen to be unsure about some of the legal aspects of a fence or the boundaries, research the laws before putting up a fence. It will save you lots of money, time, and a royal headache.


My Funny Farm

At one time my family all said I had a petting zoo or a funny farm, they couldn’t decide which it was. And yes I have to agree with them I did. During the time I was getting my Associate’s Degree in college, I stayed at home and ran the farm. Mainly I had goats, lots and lots of goats, but I would occasionally get a sheep or two at a sale. But I also at any given point would have some pretty random animals at the house just because I could.

lil bill Just a tad too short!

One day I decided to take inventory on all the animals and see exactly what all I had. Boy was that a chore. When all the counting was done I came up with around 20 baby ducks, 2 pet yard roosters, 4 donkeys, 1 horse, 45 goats, 2 sheep, 5 dogs, and 1 cat. And this was just at my house. I still had 3 horses and 2 steers at my dads. Man that’s a lot of animals. It was interesting to be amongst all of them because each and every animal had their own distinct personality and always came to their name, and there was definitely a pecking order. Looking back I wonder how I managed to take care of everything, go to school and manage all the sales I went to.

Pretty Boy This is one of the pretty boys I picked up one night at a sale. For two years I spent at least two nights a week in a sale barn buying or selling goats.

hooch The awesome fort I built in the woods for the animals.

For now, done are the days where baby goats are banging on the back door ready for their bottles, roosters guarding my front porch, and even the dog herding the guard roosters around the yard. Now are the days watching the three horses I have left buck, run and prance across the field and watch the sun go down on my absolute favorite place in the world, my dad’s farm. dakota

davis-farm.jpg The good Lord above’s handy work.