Parmak electric fencing is stretched across the Midwest, and it’s made in Today’s Farmer country
Back in 1921, Harold Parker and Kenneth McCrory (both confirmed tinkerers) began manufacturing “precision electronic equipment” at Kansas City. The word “electronics” was rarely used back then, and it would be another two decades before the term gained wide enough usage to be included in the dictionary.
Technology was on a roll in the early part of the 20th century. Not many years earlier, the Wright Brothers had made the world’s first powered airplane flight. Henry Ford had ushered in mass production techniques, as his assembly line cranked out early versions of the Model T.
Now it was the Missourians’ turn, and in 1921, Parker McCrory Mfg. Company began manufacturing specialized Wind Chargers and the “Super Parmak” farm radios. Incidentally, Parmak radios built in the 1920s now are highly sought after by antique radio collectors worldwide. At a recent auction, a 1925 Super Parmak radio in mint condition sold for several thousand dollars. In the country, many houses got electrical power for lights from Parmak Wind Chargers long before true rural electrification began. A Parmak Super Wind Charger is on display at the Agricultural Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs, Kan.
In the early 1930s, Parker McCrory turned their attention to electric fencing, becoming the world’s first large-volume manufacturer of electric fence chargers. In the years since, the company has grown to become the largest electric fencing maker globally, and has pioneered virtually every major advancement in electric fencing, such as the first solid-state fencer and America’s first solar-powered fence energizer.
Parmak builds 10 different low-impedance electrical fencers, each designed for a specific job. Today, a high-performance fencer, such as the Parmak Model RM-1, can push livestock-turning shocks through up to 100 miles of fencing.
“We’re proud of our ability to provide farmers and ranchers with reliable, high quality equipment over the years,” said Kenneth D. Turner, president of Parker McCrory Manufacturing Company.
For anyone in the business of selling grass in the form of livestock, well-designed electric fencing can increase the productivity and efficiency of forages and the animals that graze them. Low-impedance fence chargers produce a high-voltage electrical shock of extremely short duration without developing high continuous amperage or current flow. Amperage is the danger in electrical shock, not the voltage level. A powerful shock of short duration leaves a lasting impression on an animal’s (or a person’s) memory. Once exposed to modern power fencing, livestock are less likely to “challenge” a fence. And low-impedance fencers can push voltage through the wire with less effect from grounds, such as weeds or brush.
“In 1999, we acquired Baygard Electric Fencing Products Company of Toronto, Canada, which gave us a complete line of electric fencing accessories, such as poly wire and tape, insulators, portable fence posts and other products. That let us offer a complete line of top-quality fencing products,” said Turner.
He noted that a well-planned, well-built power fence is less expensive, compared with other types of fencing, and offers a lot more flexibility in designing grazing systems. For example, a continuously grazed pasture results in about 30 percent of the forage actually being harvested by the animals. The same pasture fenced into 6 to 8 units and grazed rotationally can result in 45 to 50 percent utilization. And, once the basic fence layout is in place, it’s a fairly simple matter to temporarily cross-fence with electric polywire or polytape into smaller pastures or paddocks for more intensive rotational grazing.
Parker McCrory Manufacturing Company continues to make innovations in power fencing equipment and supplies. And throughout its history, the company has been headquartered at Kansas City, Mo. Today, Parker McCrory employs an average of 105 people, many of them second and third generation Parmak makers.
“My father, Merl Turner, joined the company in 1923 and later purchased the company, several years before I came aboard in the early Seventies,” Turner added.
Ken Turner became president of the firm in the 1980s.
MFA outlets have sold Parmak fencing equipment for more than 40 years.
“It’s reliable, high-quality equipment,” said Ben Murray, manager of the MFA Farm Supply Division.
Recently, MFA Incorporated, and other farm cooperatives have contracted with Parker McCrory and other suppliers to produce fencing equipment under the “Herdsman” brand.
“We wanted to establish a separate brand for cooperatives,” said Murray. “It’s still the same dependable equipment, but this gives us a unique product identity.”
For more information on Parmak fencing, see your local MFA supplier, or go to www.parmakusa.com.