As the 2009 shearing season approaches, the American Wool Council (AWC) is encouraging all producers to participate in the certified wool clip program. This program is a self-certification effort to improve wool quality and is designed to let purchasers of U.S. wool know what efforts growers have taken at shearing time to ensure a quality clip.
"Due to the world-wide economic situation, it looks like the 2009 wool marketing season will be challenging," stated Jim Bristol (Mich.), AWC chair. "One way that growers can help to assure a market for their wool is to participate in the certified wool program and to let the buyers know what steps have been followed at shearing time to prepare a quality clip."
The certified program points out 10 steps that growers can follow to improve the quality of their clip. A few of the items are:
The buyers of U.S. wool are also being asked to support the wool quality improvement programs by asking for certified wool clips.
"All of the wool programs implemented by the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) are inter-related," concluded Bristol. "Therefore, the reputation of the U.S. wool clip depends on the participation of all growers, large or small. Successful wool programs starts at the farm. In order for the wool council programs to be successful, it must start at the farm with quality improvement."
The forms and information about the certified wool clip program are available on the ASI Web site, www.sheepusa.org, for producers to access and print. Growers should check all the boxes that apply to the clip and bring a copy when the wool is delivered.
Questions about the certified wool clip program can be directed to Bob Padula, the American Sheep Industry Association's wool quality improvement consultant, at 320-269-7973 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.