Justin Lingle and Josh Brown own and operate Knob-Side Custom Land Clearing, which operates in two states.
Cousins Josh Brown and Justin Lingle work with farmers to get better use of their land
Sometimes an idea for a new business fits a niche so perfectly that more than one location makes sense even in the beginning. One such idea is custom land reclamation and development tailored for the many challenges and opportunities in the Ozarks.
Cousins Josh Brown and Justin Lingle met for the first time 10 years ago. They instantly felt a connection and became close, a closeness fostered by living only 90 miles apart, with Justin in Prairie Grove, Ark., and Josh in Shell Knob, Mo. At the time, both were busy in other careers, but after Josh sold one of his businesses in March 2018, he began a focus on clearing and reclaiming some property he owned. After many failed attempts to secure a company to the work, Josh realized there was a need for this type of business. Through time, many conversations, research and planning, the idea of offering a custom land reclamation and development business evolved which resulted in Knob-Side Custom Land Clearing and Reclamation getting started. Josh, having knowledge of Justin’s love of entrepreneurship and background in landscaping, approached Justin about a partnership. Josh and Justin decided to become business partners with Josh opening the business homebase in Missouri in September and with Justin finally able to join in January, 2019 and eventually adding the Prairie Grove location. The business design included meeting specific site requirements and consulting the USDA with questions and specific best practice issues as well as enhancing customer awareness of possibilities not previously considered.
“If someone needs a view, we will find it or create one for you,” Josh said.
The primary purpose of Shell-Knob is to increase personal value for the property owner through usability and the creation of beautiful views as well as increasing the monetary value of the property. Josh and Justin are willing to work anywhere within a two-hour drive time radius of either location and typically work together completing three to four jobs a week. Jobs run from a half day to as long as needed.
Josh believed Justin’s first job after he actively joined their business should be to clear 7 heavily overgrown acres on Justin’s property. Justin needed more space for restarting his commercial cattle herd when the time was right.
“According to the USDA, a cow/calf pair needs 1 1/2 to 2 acres. This means clearing 5 acres will pay for itself and perhaps a bit more in the first year while providing additional profit every year thereafter,” Justin explained.
The heart of this business is the equipment. They use a 1-ton Ford F-350 truck with a 24-foot Sancrest gooseneck trailer to transport their T-870 Bobcat and attachments. The attachments include grapples, smooth and toothed buckets, a Danuser post hammer and a brush hog for hillsides.
The most critical attachment is an FAE forestry grinder which eliminates brush and trees up to 3 inches in diameter and 10- to 15-feet tall. Everything is cleared down to ground level, mulched and ready for seed, with large tree roots undisturbed and providing ground stability. No piles of debris remain for livestock to be injured on, and customers don’t have to move piles or pay someone else to dispose of them. Both Josh and Justin are proud that they not only preserve soil, they add to it.
Knob-Side Custom Land Clearing makes extensive use of technology. The most obvious is their drone which is used to observe the site before beginning so everyone understands priorities and objectives.
Further, customers who are often not on-site while the work is being performed can see periodic pictures of progress. Seeing the lay of the land before and during the process often prompts customers to make improvements in their original plans. Finally, the drone provides excellent videos and before and after shots that can be used for advertising.
Josh and Justin rely on word-of-mouth and extensive use of social media such as YouTube videos, Instagram and Facebook.
“This kind of advertising works for us, but I also go to ag-based meetings and carry business cards and brochures to reach those not accustomed to social media,” Justin said.
In terms of reclaiming farmland, Knob-Side can remove old fence rows, install new fencing, reclaim land, develop food plots and build trails. One customer used drone aerial pictures to plan horse trails while another is converting a 700-acre farm in Missouri and Arkansas to a hunting farm by clearing land for improved visibility, developing food plots, and trails for vehicle and foot access to different areas.
A friend recently purchased 400 acres and was considering purchasing equipment but quickly opted to use Knob-Side instead to put in NCRS regulation rotational grazing fencing and to clear land.
“It’s nice to be our own bosses and in control so we can be creative, use the foreman perspective and focus on the quality of the land we leave behind,” Josh said.
Josh and Justin view their businesses as improving the Ozarks by creating value to every property one customer at a time. They love what they do and not only make someone’s vision happen but perhaps also refine and improve that vision.