A new scholarship program for South Dakota State University (SDSU) features northwest South Dakota wool hand-picked by Larry Prager of Center of the Nation Wool in Belle Fourche.
The scholarships will be funded through the sale of wool scarves, stadium blankets and queen-size bedroom blankets made at Faribault Woolen Mills in Minnesota, a firm dating back to 1865 using wool from the Northern Plains to loom into woven goods for the nation and the world.
Barry Dunn, dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, came up with the idea to fund a scholarship program with South Dakota wool.
The announcement of the program came at the South Dakota Sheep Growers Association annual convention in Brookings last weekend.
Prager and local sheep ranchers were supportive from the beginning. A world economy and marketplace usually means that few woolen products can be traced to the place where the wool was produced. For this project, there's no question.
The proprietary design of the blue and yellow SDSU colored products were designed by SDSU faculty and students. The initial order at Faribault produced 500-600 scarves, 300-400 stadium blankets and 150-200 queen-sized blankets. Prices are $60 for scarves, $140 for a stadium blanket and $250 for a queen-sized blanket. Each scarf has one pound of clean wool. A stadium blanket takes about four pounds and it takes about eight pounds to make a queen-size blanket.