June 2005 -- More than 400 delegates from 22 countries emerged into Hobart, Australia, for the 74th Congress of the International Wool Textile Organization (IWTO) from April 18-23, 2005. The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) is the official representative of the U.S. wool industry in the IWTO.
IWTO provides an important link for ASI to communicate with the global wool industry. The meeting provided a chance for the seven U.S. delegates to speak with producers and textile companies alike, who are facing similar challenges in their wool businesses as those being experienced in this country.
Peter Orwick, ASI executive director, participated on an international panel where he reviewed the state of the U.S. wool industry from sheep-inventory numbers and shorn-wool production to mill consumption and raw-wool exports. Of the ten countries represented on the panel, the United States was one-of-four countries that reported an increase in sheep numbers, while the other six continue a downward trend.
?I found the U.S. wool market and the ASI programs to be well-known among textile and wool firms from around the world. This is a true testament to the active role the U.S. industry plays in the global market,? says Orwick. ?In light of the size of our annual clip as it compares internationally, I was particularly encouraged to experience the visibility of the U.S. market.?
After a report stating that the wool industry was dogged by internal bickering and needed to start working together to market its product, a request was made for international organizations to contribute to the development of a new global wool marketing system.
Australian Wool Innovation announced that it would put $US5 million toward setting up a new marketing system if the offer was matched by other international wool and textile businesses. The Woolmark Company is contributing $US1 million. Meat and Wool New Zealand, however, chose not to contribute to an international pilot program stating its growers did not support their levies being used for wool promotion.
On another note, it was learned that Australia intends to ban the use of Compound 1080 for predator and pest control at the end of 2005. This pesticide has been in long standing use in Australia, even though it has been banned in the United States for more than 30 years.
U.S. delegation leader, Orwick, along with Barry Savage from ASI, was joined in Hobart by representatives from The University of Wyoming, Anodyne, Inc., and Fort?, Dupee and Sawyer Co.