2014 ASI CONVENTION
Record Attendance in Charleston
Wool Tours, Industry Speakers Attract Nearly 500 to Annual ASI/NLFA Convention
ASI Director of Industry Information
American wool epitomized the American Sheep Industry Association/National Lamb Feeders Association annual convention held in Charleston, S.C., on Jan. 22-25. The conference theme, “Weaving a Path to the Future,” utilized tours of wool processing plants to offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for sheep producers to see the transformation of their raw wool into finished products.
A record number of producers and industry representatives gathered to discuss and learn about the industry.
“Along the the chance to get an inside look at how wool is finished, another reason for the record attendance was the up-beat attitude among farmers and ranchers due to the September turn around in feeder lamb prices and the much needed relief from the record high grain prices,” said Peter Orwick, ASI executive director.
America’s only remaining wool scouring, combing and carding plant, Chargeurs (USA) Inc., with its facility in Jamestown, S.C., opened its doors to nearly 300 meeting attendees to give them the opportunity to view the process of converting greasy wool into top. The superwash line, the continuous wool-top shrink-proofing treatment equipment that alters the fiber in wool products allowing them to be washed and dried without shrinking, was viewed by tour participants.
Top from Chargeurs is moved down the supply-chain to Burlington Industries, Raeford, N.C. The second stop on the fiber tour gave producers the occasion to hear the story of turning top into fabric. The detailed processes of dying, blending, yarn spinning and fabric weaving were all demonstrated.
Other highlights of the convention featured the return of Undersecretary Edward Avalos, of USDA’s Marketing and Regulatory Programs, who kicked off the board of directors meeting by addressing the department’s work with ASI, including the “$5 million in lamb meat purchases designed to benefit sheep producers.”
A panel of four wool industry representatives shared with the Board their concerns with proposed trade agreements.
Convention sessions ranged from parasite management and reducing labor to marketing options and feeding for fiber production. Common presentations provided by the Hale Group, were held across many organizational meetings to update attendees of the findings and recommendations presented in the final Lamb Industry Roadmap.
Attendees were reminded that next year’s convention in Reno will celebrate ASI’s 150th anniversary.