WORK to close the 170-kilometre gap in the State Barrier Fence in the Yilgarn has begun.
Last week Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston travelled to the eastern Wheatbelt to witness the start of construction at the southern end of the gap.
The State Government is spending $3.5 million on the fence construction which will help keep wild dogs and other vermin such as emus out of farming areas.
It is a move which has been commended by sheep farmers in the district.
Eastern Wheatbelt Regional Biosecurity Group chairman and Kulin farmer Jim Sullivan said wild dogs had decimated the sheep industry in the farming areas that hugged the gap in the fence.
"Since 2000, 150 farmers across 10 shires have moved away from sheep because of the dog problem," he said.
"We estimated that farmers have lost $60,000 to $70,000 a year in income, which doesn't include the mental stress of having to destroy sheep that have been attacked by wild dogs.
"This fence will be a very good thing for farmers and it is great to see construction finally starting."
Mr Sullivan said he wanted to remind members of the public that driving along the fence without a permit was illegal and could incur fines of up to $10,000.
Mr Baston said the construction of the Yilgarn Gap fence was a landmark project and had been well received by farmers.
"The cost of vermin coming into the agricultural areas is in the order of $11 to $18 a hectare, so this is clearly an important initiative for agriculture," he said.
"The demand for agricultural products in the world has increased and it is important the government looks at every avenue to increase the productivity of farmers, and that isn't just for grain but also for sheep meat and beef producers as well.
"Finishing the construction of this part of the fence is very much about increasing that productivity.
"The collaboration between local government, local groups, landholders and the Department of Agriculture and Food has been fantastic up to this point and I really look forward to the fence being finished, as are the farmers who have been fighting against wild dogs."
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said he was pleased to see Royalties for Regions assisting in the creation of sustainable regional communities.
"Preventing wild dogs from entering agricultural areas will provide the industry with economic and ecological benefits," Mr Redman said.
The Yilgarn Gap construction follows a recent upgrade to 820km of the existing fence, including the installation of lapwire, bringing it up to wild dog control standards.
Once the gap is closed the State Barrier Fence will be 1206km long stretching from Kalbarri to Ravensthorpe.
Further work in extending the fence from Ravensthorpe to east of Esperance is underway.