Special feature: Jones Agri Fencing

By: Anne Boswell

Waikato fencing business owners Chloe and Cory Jones are simultaneously working to become contractors at the forefront of the fencing industry while attracting and retaining employees who can help them achieve this

Chloe Jones on the tools when Cory needs a hand

Cory, who’s a qualified builder by trade, says he enjoys being out on farm, putting up fences and helping farmers make their properties as efficient and tidy as possible.

"It’s not an easy trade, but it’s bloody rewarding when the job is done to a high and quality standard, and you can look back at the end of the day and see a tangible end product," he says.

The Jones have been in business for just over a year now, having moved home to South Waikato to establish Jones Agri Fencing after spending three years in the Otago high country working for Nick Terry at Custom Fencing.

Boundary fenceline complete

"Nick Terry was one of the main reasons we wanted to try to go out on our own," Cory says.

"He runs his company with top-quality tools and machinery, and his positive attitude made it very easy to go to work.

"His way of ‘you work hard for me, I’ll work harder for you’ earned him a lot of respect, and he seems to keep good staff around for a long time, which is an attitude I’m trying to keep in our business.

"Good staff is always hard to find and even harder to keep, so we’re trying to have a culture that makes it easier for our team to want to get up and come to work."

When Cory and Chloe started Jones Agri, they bought the best gear they could afford. They currently run a Revolution 180 Telescopic post driver with an auger kit behind a 6330 John Deere tractor.

Fencing gets you out into some awesome country

"These two machines work perfectly together," Cory says.

"The Pearson log grab on the front is awesome for carrying gear and makes ripping out old lines a one-man job, with the ability to pluck posts out without moving to use a chain.

"The Revolution 180 is a real game-changer. The ability to have the post driver the whole way around your tractor, plus the three-metre reach from the back of the tractor, makes it perfect for getting into hard-to-reach places, especially around waterways and yards, and to reach up and off banks, which saves a lot of time on a shovel."

Cory says having good gear means they can be efficient on the job site.

"Chloe and I try to invest as much as we can to make our company as mechanical as possible, also using staple and batten guns," he says.

"To stick with this strategy, we recently purchased a Quad Jenny trailer system and a Can-Am side-by-side.

Cory Jones putting a deer strainer into an existing line for a new gateway

"These purchases have meant that even with the wet and challenging season this has been, we can get in and get our gear to site, as well as get the job done as efficiently and easily as possible. I think this makes our company look a lot more appealing to staff which, as we approach a time when we are ready to expand, is a very important thing."

Cory and Chloe both come from dairy farming backgrounds, which has given them an appreciation for hard work and an understanding that communication and respect should be given for it.

Retaining wall in town adds variation to the jobs undertaken

"I think one thing good staff look for is growth, so we’re trying to be as involved with FCANZ as possible and support the way it’s trying to innovate the industry and make fencing a more viable career path," Cory says.

"With the Level 3 and 4 courses and the ability to become a certified fencer, this gives young people a chance to earn a qualification, making it more appealing. As well, FCANZ runs best-practice days and fencing staples webinars, which showcase new and leading ways to fence and run our business, which helps us stay at the forefront of our industry."

Revolution postdrivers gets into hard-to-reach places saving plenty of shovel work

Cory says while Chloe enjoys helping him on the fence line when needed, she has a bit on in her own space, too.

"Chloe works for Fonterra as a project manager for the wastewater irrigation farms it owns across New Zealand," he says.

"She’s a keen squash player and is on the NZ Young Farmers Board.

"And when she’s not doing that, she’s tidying up paperwork for our business. This is an aspect of the business I don’t personally enjoy, so it’s good to be able to play to our strengths. We function well in what we think is a high-performing team."

When Cory’s not at work, you can find him hunting, fishing, and playing squash at the local club.

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