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Strong Wool Action Group Appoints Executive Officer, Meets With Industry

The Strong Wool Action Group has made rapid progress with the appointment of an experienced Executive Officer and a first meeting with the wider wool sector to lay out its vision for strong wool.

International wool industry marketer Andy Caughey has been appointed as the Executive Officer for the Strong Wool Action Group.

Mr Caughey has been involved in the wool sector in New Zealand and internationally since 1988. In 2011 he founded Armadillo Merino, a global company specializing in advanced next-to-skin clothing for tactical operators and professionals operating in high risk environments.

The group’s Chair Rob Hewett said Mr Caughey’s deep understanding of the wool market and business track record is a significant asset for the group.

“Andy brings commercial skills and experience to the group. In Andy we have a leader that spans consumer branding and innovation as well as knowledge of what lies behind the farm gate. It’s an ideal mix of skills and experience relevant to what we need.”

The Group also held its first meeting with interested processors and exporters in the wool sector.

“It was a chance to take others through what we see as an opportunity to help galvanize the strong wool sector. We covered how we intend to approach the recommendations in the Wool Industry Project Action Group report.

“Collaboration and alignment with a wider vision for the food and fibre sector will be central to the Group’s success and we talked through how we plan to align with the Primary Sector Council’s Te Taiao vision for the sector as well,” Mr Hewett said.

“Getting in front of people who are invested in our sector, to lay out our intentions at this stage is important. We want to take as many people as possible along with us so that we can create sustainable value for the strong wool sector, but we also need to move quickly. The strong wool industry is in a state of disarray and in need of consumer-focused change at scale.”

About the Strong Wool Action Group

  • The Strong Wool Action Group is a collaboration of representatives from across the primary sector who have come together to carry out the recommendations of the Wool Industry Project Action Group report, which was released in July this year.
  • The group comprises people representing existing processing and trading companies in the wool sector, people with marketing and innovation expertise, as well as four red meat processing and marketing companies (Alliance Group, ANZCO, Progressive and Silver Fern Farms) who have committed seed funding to the group, alongside funding from MPI.
  • The Strong Wool Action Group will work on three key areas identified in the Wool Industry Project Action Group report to develop a plan of action for the sector. These areas are:
    • Bringing in international consumer-focused thinking from outside the sector
    • Identification of commercial opportunities that industry players can invest in that are value creating
    • A pathway to re-establishing on-farm data capture and analysis of best practice.
  • The Strong Wool Action Group members include: Rob Hewett, Kate Acland, Paul Alston, Tony Balfour, David Ferrier, Craig Hickson, Andrew Morrison, Tom O’Sullivan, John Rodwell, Nadine Tunley, Peter Whiteman, Steve Williamson.

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