Location: Van Buren, Ark.

Manager: Technical Support Manager for the Western U.S. Keith Taylor

History: Bekaert Steel Wire was founded in 1880 in Belgium by Leo Leander Bekaert to meet the needs of farmers, especially sheepherders, in keeping stock where it belongs and preventing damage to the property of others, explained technical support manager Keith Taylor, who began with the company in 1992. The business began with Leo weaving wire and nails together atop an upside down wheelbarrow, using the nails as barbs. Today the company has spread to 120 different countries, including spanning the United States. 

“I began the manufacturing plating department and changed positions and responsibilities, learning a broad spectrum of the company’s processes. The result is I gained a unique set of experiences that led me to become the technical support manager. The original purpose of the split roles was to tie together the marketing, sales and production teams. Until then there was minimal unity between the teams.”

Products and Services: “Our agricultural division offers nearly 25 different styles of high tensile steel barbed wire of varying combinations of points per barb and spaces between the barbs ranging from 3 inches to 6 inches and several different types of coating materials such as zinc, zinc/aluminum, and zinc/aluminum and paint combinations,” Keith explained. “Bekaert’s Van Buren Plant produces roughly 120,000 tons of steel wire products a year. With a big push now being faster rural Internet, the use of Bekaert stranded support cables is very popular. Bekaert also private brands for some of our partner distribution companies. Different parts of the country have different preferences with the most popular in Arkansas being four-point barbs with 5 inch spacing between them. An important part of our communication with the public is the ‘Ask the Fence Pro’ feature on our website. An example of how the site works is a rancher in Montana wanted to use an NRCS program to cost share a fencing project but the NRCS had not approved our fencing. We made that happen.”

Philosophy and future: “In the agricultural supply area, the end users are ranchers and farmers who want quality products that will last for generations, a result of using high tensile steel and a variety of coatings. The motto for that portion of the business is ‘Fencing for the Long Run.’ I see the future in my division as strong because there will always be a need for fencing. The average farm size is decreasing with a constant need for fencing and sometimes ranches and farms are right next door to subdivisions.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here