Anyone who has tried to fence in livestock knows that there are many variables to consider.  Will electric fencing work for every animal?  Why might my livestock be escaping?  Do I need an additional perimeter fence?  In this episode, fencing expert Joe Putnam of Premier 1 Supplies answers many of the most common questions about livestock fencing and shares the variety of resources Premier 1 has to offer homesteaders of all kinds.  Join us as we discuss keeping livestock in their fencing!

In this episode, we cover:

  • How Premier 1 got its start and what makes it a unique homestead supplier
  • A description of exactly how electric fencing works
  • An overview of other fencing options besides electric netting
  • What is the appropriate amount of space between fence posts?
  • Exploring the reasons your livestock might be escaping their fencing
  • Can electric fencing serve as your perimeter fence?
  • What Premier 1 offers beyond livestock fencing
  • The personalized customer support you’ll get from Premier 1

E36: Embracing Hope in Uncertain Times: Freedom in Food and Farming | John Klar Homesteaders of America

Thank you to our sponsor!

Premier 1 Supplies is your one-stop shop for all things homesteading!  Visit to browse their catalog.

About Joe

Joe Putnam works as a marketing copywriter for Premier 1 Supplies. He frequently appears in Premier’s instructional how-to videos on YouTube. Putnam can be found at farm industry events, where his gentle, hands-on approach makes even the most complex farming topics simple. When not at work, Putnam spends time on his family’s 40-acre farmstead in southeast Iowa. There the family raises cattle, sheep, poultry, multiple gardens, corn, hay, and oats.


Joe Putnam of Premier 1 Supplies | Website

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Learn how to keep livestock in their fencing! Join our discussion with Joe Putnam of Premier One fencing, equipment, and supplies.
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Keeping Livestock IN Their Fencing Transcript

Amy Fewell Welcome to the Homesteaders of America Podcast, where we encourage simple living, hard work, natural healthcare, real food, and building an agrarian society. If you’re pioneering your way through modern noise and conveniences, and you’re an advocate for living a more sustainable and quiet life, this podcast is for you. Welcome to this week’s podcast. I’m your host, Amy Fewell, and I’m the founder of the Homesteaders of America organization and annual events. If you’re not familiar with us, we are a resource for homesteading education and online support. And we even host a couple of in-person events each year with our biggest annual event happening right outside the nation’s capital here in Virginia every October. Check us out online at Follow us on all of our social media platforms and subscribe to our newsletter so that you can be the first to know about all things HOA (that’s short for Homesteaders of America). Don’t forget that we have an online membership that gives you access to thousands—yes, literally thousands—of hours worth of information and videos. It also gets you discount codes, an HOA decal sticker when you sign up, and access to event tickets before anyone else. All right. Let’s dive into this week’s episode. 

Amy Fewell Welcome to the Homesteaders of America podcast this week. I’m super excited to have guest Joe Putnam from Premier 1 Supplies with us. And if you guys know Premier 1 is actually a sponsor of HOA, and they have been for quite a few years. They’re one of our favorite vendors at the conference. People love to learn from Joe and Premier 1. And so, Joe, welcome to the HOA podcast. 

Joe Putnam Thank you. I appreciate that, Amy. 

Amy Fewell Yeah, I’m glad we finally got you on here. We’ve been trying to get quite a lot of sponsors, and so it’s like trying to get schedules and it’s crazy because we’re homesteaders, right? 

Joe Putnam Yeah, there’s always something to do on the farm somewhere. 

Amy Fewell Yeah. And so I love interviewing our sponsors that are also homesteaders. So why don’t you just give us a brief rundown of who you are, what you do, all about Premier 1.

Joe Putnam Yeah. So about me, I grew up on a… Well, I guess I’ll call it small for Iowa, but it’s a 40 acre farm in southeast Iowa. And my folks… Dad had a job in town and Mom fortunately worked at the local livestock sale barn. So that was our way to acquire various animals on occasion. But we’d raise corn, hay, oats, and we’d pick up cattle at the auction and feed them out and sell those through the locker. Mom did a lot in the garden, did a lot of canning. And so that’s kind of just how I grew up. So going to these shows like, “Oh yeah…” 

Amy Fewell You know all this, right?  You’re a pro.

Joe Putnam Just kind of second nature because that’s kind of how I grew up. Dad grew up on a dairy farm. Mom grew up essentially homesteading as well. She was one of eight, so they did a lot in the garden, and they had a dairy cow that they milked growing up. It’s just kind of ingrained. Going to these shows, it’s just like I’ve experienced all this and just know the lingo and I know the lifestyle and it’s just very fun. And I still help out on the farm because I like getting fresh meat and fresh vegetables like anyone else. And I’ve been with Premier… Kind of growing up that way helped me get the job at Premier. I’m their copywriter, so I write their catalog content and item descriptions, and having that hands-on experience really helped when I came here. And I’ve been with Premier about 13 years now, still doing that similar task and then going to shows on top of that. Premier started because our founder, Stan Potratz, he went off to school in England for his college days. He came back to the States and he worked on a college farm while I was in England, and he wanted to use the items that he had in England but on his home farm in southeast Iowa—in Washington, Iowa—which is where Premier is still still located today. And he wanted to use those items, had to import them. Some neighbors noticed, like, “Hey, that’s some helpful tool. Those are some helpful tools that you have, such as your sheep and goat handling equipment or your portable electric fence.” And he wound up importing some more and started a whole business off of that. So going from wanting to just raise sheep on his family farm, he’s now got this business with 60 some employees, so he’s since partially retired a few years ago. He’s very much still active with the sheep farm side of things and as far as new products and overall higher level running. And his nephew, Ben Roth, who comes from an e-commerce Internet marketing background, is running things day-to-day here. So it’s still very much a family business, same heartbeat essentially as it had before, just a little different face of things. But yeah, but that’s kind of what we do. I mentioned we have a sheep farm, so Premier runs about 800 or 900 head of ewes. We have a couple of different poultry flocks, and what we want to do here is just use what we sell. The joke is that Premier business helps support the farm habit so we can go play outside. 

Amy Fewell That’s awesome. 

Joe Putnam So yeah, anything that you’ll see in the catalogs or on the website, that’s probably been tested or used by someone at Premier. That way we can best describe or best understand how it’s used or how to break it. 

Amy Fewell Yeah, right. Well, so you have the experience with your products to back up everything that you guys know. And that’s one of the things that we appreciate about Premier is you’re not just selling products, you’re actually using those products, and so you know them in and out. And so I would say probably you’re most well known for your electric netting, is that right? 

Joe Putnam Yes, primarily electric netting. That and the small ruminants, so sheep and goats side of things, too. So it’s interesting to hear like, “Oh, I didn’t know you had fence,” or “Oh, I didn’t know you carried sheep and goat supplies.” So it depends how first people interact with us. 

Amy Fewell Yeah. So we’ve been doing a series on the podcast specifically about sheep. And so one of the things that I wanted to talk about with you today is how do you keep animals in? Right? Like all animals are different from chickens to sheep to cows. And so a lot of people getting started… How many times have you heard this? Like, “Oh, I got sheep and they ran off.” And so I wanted to break that down with you today, the different kinds of options that people have. And also more specifically because I feel like you know, what are each individual animal’s habits? Is it a visual thing? You know, like my cow, I can keep her in with one strand of poly wire, but my sheep are crazy. So I wonder if you might talk to us a bit about that today. 

Joe Putnam Yeah. So fencing is pretty… It’s really nice working at Premier because growing up, half of our fences were held together by baling twine in a prayer, it seems like. Grew up with a lot of that. But yeah, anytime we could build something a little more formidable, it was always appreciated because that would hold much better. So what keeps some animals in and what doesn’t? It kind of comes down to… actually, a lot of it comes down to the size of an animal. So a big heavy cow, they make excellent ground contact. So to go back a few steps… I’m talking with my hands here for the folks that can’t see. Go back a couple of steps. An electric fence works by… You have a fence energizer and that takes power from either a 110 or a plug-in source or a 12 volt battery. It takes some power. It sends it out via its fence terminal, which is connected to your fence. And then that pulse energy travels down to your fence line. When an animal or something touches that, the power goes from the fence into the animal. It travels back to the energizer via the ground. It’s carried by the soil moisture. And then the energizer has a ground rod. So that’s what completes your fence circuit. It’s fence terminal, fence, animal, ground, ground rod, which is connected back to the ground terminal and the energizer. That’s what makes your fence circuit. So you can have a fence that is just a straight line. It doesn’t have to make a circle. So that’s something we get asked quite often is like, “Does your fence have to make a circle for the electric circuit to be complete?” No, it’s when an animal touches the fence or you touch the fence, that’s when the circuit is complete. So when a large animal touches that fence, they’re making excellent contact to the ground. So the pulse is easily able to travel through the animal, into the ground, back to the energizer. So that’s why cattle and horses tend to be easier to keep in than, say, something smaller like chicken or sheep. There’s less weight to those animals. So they’re not making as firm or as strong contact to the ground. Pigs make excellent contact to the ground because they have short pointed hooves that kind of stick them in. Then they’re dense and heavy and they’re not really well insulated. They don’t have a very thick fur coat or hair coat or a wool coat as compared to goats or sheep. So cattle easier because they’re that excellent contact. Sheep, they tend to have a little bit more insulation or they’re lighter weight, so they’re not making that firm contact to the ground. Same with goats. 

Amy Fewell Yeah. So you guys have a few different fencing options, and a lot of people don’t know that. So a lot of people, they’ll get on YouTube and they’ll see netting. But you have a few other options too, right? So what are some options for people when it comes to electric fencing? 

Joe Putnam So some of the popular options other than the netting is a single or multi strand, so that is individual reels of a conductor. So the conductor is what’s carrying the power through your fence. Those can be either a twisted cable or your classic just long-drawn wire. And then we carry what’s called electro plastic conductors. So it’s kind of several plastic filaments giving you kind of a strand of rope, and then that has stainless steel or tin copper filaments strung throughout to help carry the pulse through the fence. And they tend to be lighter weight than metal, the electro plastic conductors. And you can get them in a variety of diameters. So that comes into play with visibility and portability. So you can have a thicker conductor if you’re going to leave it up for a longer period of time or using it to supplement a permanent fence, just add some visibility to that. And then the lighter conductors are if you’re doing daily or weekly moves. It’s just something a little bit easier to handle when you’re moving it every day. So those conductors are held on… We have wind-up reels or hand-wound reels for deployment and for taking them up. Then those conductors are then placed on portable posts. These are typically fiberglass or plastic posts that you set where you want your fence line. There’s clips on them so they can hold those conductors and you put on as many conductors as you need to keep your animals are in or out. So you can add or remove clips as needed to those posts. So a lot of folks… I’d say probably the most common multi strand is probably in the two to three strand range, depending on what animal you’re running. Cattle, typically one. If you’re running calves, I probably would do two. Then sheep, you can be in the three to five range. It depends how much area you’re giving them, how much predator pressure you have, the age of the animals that you’re wanting to fence. They all kind of work together to determine how many strands you’re going to need. But that’s kind of… It kind of just varies depending on your needs. You can just customize your own fence essentially with the individual conductors in the reels. 

Amy Fewell Yeah. So somebody who might want electric netting… So when we lived at our old property, we had a lot of wooded acreage. So would you say that the electric netting works in the woods, or is there anything specific that people need to do to get that to work for their chickens? 

Joe Putnam So I’ve run electric netting through the woods. I’ve done that for my sheep. Where I am in Iowa, I’m on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, so it’s pretty steep and pretty well wooded. And I have run net through there. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but it has worked. So yes, you can run through a wooded area. You can put netting on a non-flat plane, so it doesn’t have to be perfectly manicured pasture or anything like that. It can go through rough terrain. You’ll have to work at it, but it’s doable. Same with the multi strand or single strand fence. It’ll go through it, like one may be easier than the other. I think it comes down to just the individual operator, like whoever’s putting it up, their tolerance for one versus the other. But if you’re running through the woods, you just need to watch out for any grass contact or twig contact, any brush or bramble contacting your fence because that can eat a little bit of the power from your fence. It doesn’t take a lot, but if you have a lot of contact, then that’s cumulative and that can take a lot of power out of your fence if you get a lot of contact. So make sure to clear that ahead of time. You can mow, trample, go through a machete, bush hog. Just kind of clear a path so your fence doesn’t have a lot of stuff contacting it. That’ll help. And then having enough output on your energizer, which is what sends the power through your fence. Enough power can help overcome any of that contact. So if you start with more than enough to begin with, then you should have a animal stopping pulse at the end of the fence line even after some of that contact. And then also, if you’re setting up fence in the woods, if you’re using a solar energizer, don’t place it in the shade. That’s a question we get on occasion like, “Can I put this in the woods?” It’s really just a battery energizer with a solar panel topping off the battery. So if you have a fully charged unit, yes, you can use it in the shady area for a couple of days, but ultimately that battery is going to get drawn down. So you need to ideally have that energizer facing south, panel facing south in a sunny area and not in a spot that gets shaded a lot. All of that makes a difference. But you can run insulated fence wire from your energizer to the fence. So the energizer doesn’t have to be at the fence. You can set it in a sunny area, run that fence cable from it to your net or multi strand system that’s in the wooded area that’s much more shady and it’ll still work. 

Amy Fewell Yeah, we do that a lot here. So our property, the whole front is open. It gets lots of sun, but then the back of the property is more shaded, which is… Running the sheep through the woods, obviously that’s not going to work. So we do that a lot. Of course, my husband’s an electrician, so that was very helpful when he was setting it up because I knew nothing about it, but yeah, we do that a lot on this property. So that’s like a little tip for those of you who are like me, who didn’t know what you were doing, that you know, so now you know. 

Amy Fewell Hey, thanks for listening. We’re going to take a quick break to introduce you to one of our sponsors that has been with HOA for a few years, and that’s Premier 1 Supplies. At Premier 1, they’ve been providing electric fencing and electric netting, sheep and goats supplies, clippers and shears, ear tags, poultry products, and expert advice for over 40 years. Whether it’s electric netting for your chickens or cattle or horses or poultry, or clippers and shears, and even poultry supplies such as fencing, feeders, waterers, egg handling supplies, hatchery items, they have it all. They are a one-stop shop for all things homesteading. Just like many of our sponsors. Check out Premier 1 Supplies at and don’t forget to check them out at the HOA event this year.

Amy Fewell Okay, so let’s go back a little bit to fence posts. So one of the things that I find a lot, especially when I got started, I didn’t know. So I know people have this question, and so the ultimate goal is to teach people before they get into the predicament. So each animal is different, right? How far apart do you put your fence posts? And what’s the significance in that? 

Joe Putnam So the distance between the fence posts, that’s just what’s supporting your conductors and your fence line. That’s all that post does. And if you’re too far apart, you will get some sag in your conductors, and depending on your fence style, if you have a conductor that’s about four inches off the ground as your lowest conductor… So you’re trying to keep raccoons out of the garden, or the low strand on our sheep netting is four inches. So if you have inadequate support, that conductor is going to touch the ground, so you’re going to get higher grass contact and that can probably short out your fence. That’s one thing. So determining the best distance between your port post, it’s going to come down to your own personal eye and your own terrain. That hilly terrain I have at my parents’ farm in southeast Iowa, I would probably do a conductor probably within every 20 feet. It’s pretty close, maybe even closer if I’m doing a multi strand fence. If I’m doing netting fence, we have what’s called a plus net. So a standard fence, a standard Premier net has posts built in about every 10 to 12 feet. A plus net has them built in every 6 to 7 feet. So that those added posts or those closer posts allow you to go up and down easier, to have turns within the train a lot easier, and maintain tension on the fence. And sometimes that’s not even close enough. So you can just add in fiberglass support rods or fiber tough posts here and there just to take up some of that slack depending on your terrain. So I’ve seen like 25 feet recommended. I’ve seen 50 feet recommended. It depends what you’re running as a netting versus multiple conductors and your terrain. That’s all going to have an effect. So when you ask what’s the right answer to this, it depends. That’s going to be a lot of… It depends. 

Amy Fewell Yeah, I know. When we got our sheep, we put them into electric netting— not netting, sorry, poly wire. We had a couple of strands and they immediately jumped out of it when they first got here. So that’s what happened when I was going online doing Google searches like, well, how do I fix this? And so that’s a question I have for you, too, because you are very experienced in sheep. Obviously, I have fixed that issue now, but I know a lot of people will have those questions, especially for animals like sheep. What are some reasons why they might be getting out and how can people kind of guarantee that that won’t happen? 

Joe Putnam Great question. So what are some things you can do to keep those lighter animals from getting out? Make sure that you have at least 3,000 volts at the end of your fence line. So we are going to recommend that for any animal, containment or deterrence. You want at least 3,000 volts at the furthest point from your energizer. So you need to take your fence tester— and not your standard electricians multimeter. They’re not meant for the voltages coming off electric fence. So you need to get a fence tester and go to the furthest point from your energizer and measure your voltage at that point. So I said 3,000 volts. Anything above is better, anything lower, you’re going to have to do some mitigation efforts here. So you’re going to have to go through and make sure you have no grass contact on the fence. You need to make sure you’re adequately grounded. So the ground rod brings the pulse back from the ground to the energizer. So if you have too little ground rod, all those little electrons that are getting pushed through the soil, they’re going to pile up at the ground rod. Try to think of an off ramp or an on ramp for a highway that’s backed up. It’s not large enough to take all the traffic flow through there. So if you have too little ground rod, you’re going to get a pile up of all those little vehicles and not as many are going to flow through as what really want to flow through. So make sure you have enough ground rods to take all that pulse energy back. And a typical rule of thumb in the electric fence world is three foot of ground rod of a half inch galvanized rod per joule of output on your energizer. So the joule of output is how much energy is being thrown out of those terminals every time there’s a pulse, every time a shock occurs. We rate them in joules. You’ll see a miles rating on some, and most folks are told to disregard that. And we’ll say that, too. Ignore the miles rating on the energizer, because that’s your perfect lab conditions. That’s what you… Okay, here’s my equation for what I should be able to run based on X, Y, and Z. But that miles rating is not really reliable in a fence scenario or field scenario. So go by joules of output. That’s going to be consistent all the time. That’s what’s coming off the terminals with each pulse. So that brings us back to grounding. Make sure you have enough ground rod, and if you’re in a dry area, sometimes that pulse energy is not as well able to travel through the soil conditions because you don’t have that soil moisture to help carry the pulse. So if you add ground rods, that can help. It just makes your circuit a little bit more conductive by having those additional ground rods in there. You can also soak your ground rods. Take a leaky five gallon bucket. Put them by your ground rods so your ground field has more moisture there to make that more conductive and appealing for that pulse to complete the circuit. So back to fencing small animals. There’s a fair bit to it. So sheep, if you have a wooly breed of sheep… So something that has head wool, face wool that’s going to act as a bit of an insulator, so it’s best to train them while they’re shorn so they have less insulation on them than if they’re in full fleece. And then if you’re running a hair breed, Premier runs mostly Dorper/Romanov/Katahdin cross here, so they don’t get the thick fleeces that say your stereotypical Merino would. They don’t get that thick layer of insulation comparatively as a Merino does, so they’ll be a little bit easier to contain since they’re that hair breed. Goats, they tend to be a little bit lighter than sheep, and their bodies just seem to have a little bit more resistance to electrical flow as sheep. And I think it’s partial from their hair coat. They tend to have a dryer hoof compared to sheep, so those things make a little bit of a difference. So if you have something that is like animals with hard dry hooves compared to the moist soft hooves, there’s a difference in them and that will affect how your fence performs. So it’ll be higher output energizers compared to your larger animals. So if I’m running a fence for sheep, I’m probably going to want to have a higher output energizer than I would have for my cattle for the same distance of fence. Overall, if I’m doing a one acre fence or one acre perimeter, I’m probably going to want to have more output on that energizer for sheep than I am for cattle. Cattle, I can get away with one strand. Sheep, I’m going to want three to five to eight strands to contain them. So all those extra strands means you’re going to need to have a higher output energizer. That, and those streams are going to be closer to the ground, so you’re going to have more potential for weak contact. So that added output will help power through that. So tighter spacings. Good quality conductors. The conductor range can be… So I mentioned ohms and that’s a unit of resistance. So it’s what’s preventing or impeding electrical flow through your fence. And electric fence conductors, they a range in the 10 ohms to 300 ohm resistances. At Premier, we try and keep that number on the lower side because we’re trying to keep things and keep things out. We don’t want to have a single reason for a fence not to work. So the lower ohm conductors that are out there, we just try and avoid them by default. So look to the lower ohms or high conductivity. 

Amy Fewell Gotcha. 

Joe Putnam So that’s something keep in mind. So just have good quality fence components. If you’re setting up netting, there’s metal spikes at the bottom of those posts. And sometimes in my haste, I’ve gotten one of my metal spikes caught on my conductor, stuck it in the ground, went on, didn’t notice it, and when I went to test my fence, I was at zero volts. Oh, what’s going on here? I created what’s called a dead short. I have my fence connector having a direct contact to ground via that spike. So I had to go through my fence, find where that short was, pull that out. So there’s just simple things that if you’re not aware of, they’re easy to miss. But once you are aware of them, like, oh, I know to look for that now. 

Amy Fewell Yeah, absolutely. 

Joe Putnam Yeah. So it’s just many, many things. Another thing is animals like to be with the same species. So if you have sheep on both sides of the fence, they’re going to want to be together. So they’re going to be incentivized to challenge your fence or try and get through because, “Well, I don’t like these sheep I’m with. I want to be with the ones on the other side of the fence.” Same for goats, same for cattle, same for pigs. So that’s why we want to have only have animals of one species on one side of the fence. That way they’re not inclined to challenge. 

Amy Fewell Yeah, well, and the other thing is, I know when we got our sheep, our cow would chase them. So that was another thing we quickly found out, Oh, they’re jumping over because they don’t want to be chased by the cow. And so that was a whole learning experience that was great. All right, so electric fencing in general, a lot of people will go into this when they hear this and say, okay, I have the option to get electric fencing, so I don’t need a perimeter fence of any kind. How do you feel about that? Does it work well? Do you recommend them having a perimeter fence around their whole property? What’s your recommendation on that? 

Joe Putnam Ultimately, I’m going to like a perimeter fence because then I have something solid as a backup in case my electric fence fails. So at home, the farm, it’s hard to get that fence through the ravines sometimes. So hauling all the t-posts and wire and such, it wears on you. So in a perfect world, everyone has a nice tight woven wire around their property line so you can use that as a feeder fence for your electric fence, and you can just subdivide off of that. That would make things easier. But does electric fence work as your perimeter? It does work as your perimeter fence as your primary fence. It can work for that purpose. You just have to make sure you do your due diligence. So you have enough conductors to keep predators out and your animals in, have enough output on your fence to keep your animals in at all times, and just have a couple… Make sure you have adequate voltage at the end of your fence line and then a little room for error there. So you’re just going to have to be a little more aware of, oh, I had a storm last night. Do I need to go check my fence in case a tree branch fell on it? So just be a little more cognizant of those things. Even with the perimeter fence, you’re going to have to think that way, too. Yeah, but if you’re just solely relying on a psychological barrier rather than a physical barrier, that’s definitely something to keep in mind. So, yes, you can use the electric fence as your perimeter. Yes, absolutely. It’s just one of those things you have to maintain. 

Amy Fewell Yeah. You just have to be more diligent about it, right? Yeah. We were happy we had our perimeter fence when the sheep got out. Otherwise they would have been in the road. But after using the electric fence and seeing how they work, you definitely could. I agree with you. I think you could use it as a perimeter fence once you do your due diligence and keep up with it. All right, so I know we’re talking about fencing, but we’re almost done here. I want to talk about the other stuff that you guys offer because it wasn’t until I got sheep that I really, really appreciate the Premier 1 website because there’s so much good stuff on there. I ordered a sheep shearer, I’ve ordered vitamin injections. I’ve ordered all kinds of stuff on there. So you guys really are a one-stop shop, not just for sheep, but you have poultry. Oh, you guys, I can’t… I love the Premier 1 heat lamps because—I’m serious—they are like a game changer. You know, you can go to your local farm store and get those little thin heat lamp light bulbs, but we have been using your guys’s heat lamp bulbs especially for years. And they’re so thick and we’ve never had one break. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had those little thin farm store ones break, but we’ve never had a Premier 1 light bulb break. And so, I wonder if you’ll just kind of tell us quickly what you guys have to offer on there so people can go and say, hey, this is my one-stop shop to get stuff. 

Joe Putnam Yeah, sure can. So I’ll cover poultry— we have feeders, waterers, in addition to our classic poultry netting. And then we’re trying to find things that you normally can’t find in a farm store. That’s the objective because farm stores, the just don’t have the quality that I want to have.

Amy Fewell Right. 

Joe Putnam That’s what I appeal to or something that’s easier to use. So I use a lot of two-piece plastic waterers during my 4H day. So it’s a three gallon waterer. You have your reservoir on top and then the base twists off. And it’s just a flat base. And I lost count how many times my leg would hit that, twist off the base, and then I’d have three gallons of water on the ground and soaked pant legs, or my Muck boots were full of water, so I’d have to upturn them. And then I’m doing the rest of the chores with a soggy sock, which is never fun. We have what we call a dual cylinder or a double wall drinker. So instead of just that flat plastic base, there’s just an internal reservoir. So the lid goes over the reservoir, connects at the base, and it looks very similar. So I think some folks see that waterer and go, “Oh, that’s that old style that I hate.” But no, you got to look inside. It’s actually better. So when I first came across those, I was pretty excited. They looked like the old style two-piece galvanized drinkers, but they’re a modern plastic now. We have a couple different automatic drinker options. I like using the suspended dome drinker in my chicken tractors and then some broiler trough feeders that are pretty popular. So it’s just a four foot long trough and holds about 20-25 pounds of feed. I’ve been running that in my tractors as well. It’s got a nice knurled lip, so the lip on the trough has got a little turn on it. So it kind of reduces those broilers from scratching feed out. So it cuts down on wasted feed. So if you’re doing that on a production farm scale, it saves you on some feed costs there, which is just nice. So a lot of items that had some thought put into them. So we have some made for us to our design, and then we’ll just go… We travel around the world. Ben, our Premier CEO, just did a three-week around the world tour from New Zealand on back. 

Amy Fewell Wow. 

Joe Putnam We like looking for things.

Amy Fewell Yeah. That’s awesome. 

Joe Putnam And then on the sheep side of things, that’s kind where we cut our teeth or learned everything. How to do business. We run sheep at Premier so we know what’s involved with sheep production on small to a larger scale. We’re not as big as the folks out west, but east of the Mississippi, if we say our numbers, people go, “Wow.” If we go west of the Mississippi, people go, “All right.”

Amy Fewell Right. Yeah. 

Joe Putnam It’s the passion here is the sheep side of things. So that’s what we’re most excited about. And then we also have what’s called our sheep advice service. And we also do goats as well. So if you send an email to we have a consulting veterinarian and consulting small ruminant nutritionist. So if you have any questions along those lines, because I know it’s hard to find someone local that can take those questions that knows about sheep or knows about goats, we have a contract with the folks that’ll take those for you. So we have a retired Iowa State sheep nutritionist or sheep professor, Dr. Dan Morrical. He’s very helpful with the nutrition side of things or general management side of things. And then there used to be Pipestone Sheep Veterinarian out in Southwest Minnesota. One of their vets, he’s now a Windy Ridge Vet in Pipestone, Minnesota, but that’s Dr. Larry Goelz. And he’ll take the veterinary side of things. So we can’t offer prescriptions or anything like that, but we can definitely point in the right direction or give some good advice to your local veterinarian. They can help you out there. But as far as small ruminant production, there’s everything from shearing equipment to the elastrator bands and in between. And then mineral mixes or things of that nature. Our equipment catalog is very sheep and goat based. If you have any sheep or goats, just hop on our website and look through our print catalogs selection and we’ll send one out to you on fencing, sheep and goat equipment, or poultry supplies. We still have a physical catalog that gets sent out. 

Amy Fewell Mm hmm. Yeah, we love looking at it. I love all these sponsors that still have catalogs because it’s so fun. It’s so much easier to flip there and see everything where the Internet is very search based. So, yeah, you guys will have everything linked in the description of this video in the podcast. That way you can find all of this information really, really easily to click on it. Is there anything else, Joe, that you would love to say to our audience about anything Premier 1 or fencing or anything? 

Joe Putnam Yes. So I would like to push our product consultants because they are folks that farm at home. So when they’re not a Premier, they are using these items on their own farms. May not be every item that we carry, but they do have experience. They have access to find someone that has used it here to get you a good explanation of what’s going on with the product if you’re having an issue with it or if you’re just curious about something. They are folks that have farmed or are actively farming or actively raising animals. And I don’t know many other companies that can say that. So when we say we have hands-on experience, we mean it. 

Amy Fewell Right. And that makes a world of difference. I mean, we’ve seen that even in our community groups. I think you’ve even seen some of it where people have said, you know, Premier 1 has the best customer service because they actually pick up the phone or they actually email you and can walk you through all these things. So that’s another reason we… I think people have caught on over the last couple of years, like we have sponsors that we really feel are a service to the homesteading community. And we have people pounding down HOA’s door to be sponsors. But I mean, every time I’m like, “Joe, please.” We love Premier 1 and we just don’t want to go with a mediocre kind of company that doesn’t offer what you guys offer. So we really appreciate you guys. 

Joe Putnam Thank you. 

Amy Fewell And all that you do for the homesteading community because it makes a world of difference when you have businesses and sponsors that actually care about this community and seeing everyone kind of together and on the same page working. So we appreciate you. 

Joe Putnam Appreciate that. We love helping people grow their own food. That’s just a wonderful feeling. 

Amy Fewell All right, guys. Well, thank you for joining us for this week’s episode of Homesteaders of America podcast. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please do. And once again, Joe, thanks for joining us. 

Joe Putnam Thank you, Amy. Thanks for having me. Happy to be here. 

Amy Fewell Hey, thanks for taking the time to listen to this week’s Homesteaders of America episode. We really enjoyed having you here. We welcome questions and you can find the transcript and all the show notes below or on our Homesteaders of America blog post that we have up for this podcast episode. Don’t forget to join us online with a membership or just to read blog posts and find out more information about our events at We also have a YouTube channel and follow us on all of our social media accounts to find out more about homesteading during this time in American history. All right, have a great day and happy homesteading. 

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Keeping Livestock IN Their Fencing Podcast with Joe Putnam of premier 1 Supplies | Homesteaders of America