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Name change underlines wool focus

Name change underlines wool focus

Federated Farmers wants to play a key role in ramped-up sector-wide collaboration on wool initiatives - and that’s reflected in a name change.

By unanimous vote of delegates from the Federation’s 24 provinces who met in Wellington this week, the Meat & Fibre Council and industry group is now the Meat & Wool Council and industry group.

It’s actually a return to the name that was used more than two decades ago, the chairperson, Miles Anderson, said. ‘Wool’ was switched out to ‘Fibre’ back then when mohair from angora goats was on the rise.

But goat farmers now have their own section within Federated Farmers and everyone wanted to get back to using the name ‘wool’ - with all its internationally recognised connotations - super-warm, natural, sustainable, hypoallergenic, flame-retardant, etc.

Prices for crossbred/strong wool have halved since mid-2015 but farmers and downstream companies are fighting hard to find new and innovative products to soak up the warehoused clip and spark revenues, Miles said. More than a dozen of these industry leaders put on displays at a Crossbred Wool Showcase that Federated Farmers hosted in Wellington this week.

Among exhibitors were Inter-weave and Woolyarns Ltd., who produce high end, quality fabrics for export and supply Air NZ with transportation fabrics, meeting the highest flame retardant criteria. Wright Wool supplies 100 % NZ wool to USA-based Paragon, which has created a specialised knop used for home insulation. Other exhibitors were Wayby Wools, who specialise in cot undelays and yoga mats, and Stansborough, suppliers of wool garments used in movies such as the Lord of the Rings, and to high-end boutiques in London and New York.

A woollen blanket from Ruapehu producer ShearWarmth, and clothes from Merino Kids, were presented to Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor to pass on to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for when her baby is born.

The Meat and Wool Council gave the section’s executive the mandate to form a collaborative industry group to address crossbred wool issues. The aim is to work together to better tell the excellent story of strong wool’s qualities and potential to the wider community, Miles said.


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