The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), which provides the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) with a number of supplies, including wool blankets, has drastically reduced its contracts for wool blankets.
Neither the Army nor the Air Force will be purchasing wool blankets for the remainder of this fiscal year and next fiscal year. Only the Navy will be purchasing a small amount of wool blankets over the next three months.
There are a couple reasons the DSCP will no longer supply contracts for wool blankets:
One supplier of wool blankets for the DSCP was Litchfield Wool, in Litchfield, Minn., which has been greatly affected by the lack of demand for wool blankets. There have been reports that Litchfield will be closing; however, the future of the mill is still unknown.
?When the government decides to come back into the market for wool blankets, it may be too late for Litchfield Wool,? says Sam Brickle, owner of Northwest Woolen Mills, who contracts Litchfield Wool to produce the blankets.
Brickle is concerned that when the DSCP comes back into the wool blanket market, there will not be enough suppliers; therefore forcing them to buy blankets made from fiber other than wool.
?There is no adequate replacement for wool blankets,? says Brickle. ?It seems that wool keeps losing-out to synthetic fibers. Not only does the domestic wool grower lose the ability to sell their wool for use by the government, but the woolen textile manufacturer and the cut-and-sew operations will also be affected.?