USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is partially funding the purchase and installation of equipment in a wool processing facility to develop base layer garments for the U.S. Army. If the project is successful, it could provide millions of dollars of new revenue and outlets for domestic sheep producers across the country.
The U.S. Army has provided the U.S. wool industry with a two year $750,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to develop domestically produced prototype military Extended Cold Weather Clothing System Generation III base layer garments from a form of washable wool that is resistant to melting and ignition.
This project became possible through a $400,000 USDA Wool Trust Grant made by AMS that partially funded the purchase and installation of the equipment in the Chargeurs Wool USA wool processing facility. The equipment was jointly funded by the USDA's Wool Trust and industry. This facility is producing washable wool top which can be used for a variety of domestically produced wool products that are already reaching the market.
Chargeurs Wool USA is the last wool processing plant in the United States selling high quality and high value wool used for clothing manufacturing and now, with this new USDA-funded equipment, they also will sell washable wool that's used to manufacture clothing.
If the project is successful and the U.S. Army transitions to wool-based under garments, it could provide millions of dollars of new revenue and outlets for the 82,000 domestic sheep producers across the country and help ensure the United States maintains a domestic wool processing industry.
Reprinted from USDA / AMS News Release