Question of the Week
Answer: The natural fibers produced by wooled sheep, Angora goats, and cashmere goats can be used in a variety of ways to add income to the sheep or goat enterprise. There are several possibilities for marketing wool:
• In bulk: ask your shearer for some of the possibilities in your location, which may include selling to a wool pool, warehouse, mill, or wool buyer. You can find contacts at the American Sheep Industry website at www.sheepusa.org.
o Wool pool: producers organize to assemble a large lot of wool, enabling them to have it sorted, graded, and marketed for a better price. You can find your local options through the ASI website listed above.
o Warehouse: the MidStates Wool Growers Cooperative is one example of a group operating this way. See www.midstateswoolgrowers.com/marketing.html for more information on warehouse marketing.
o Mills: if you have a mill operating locally, they might be interested in purchasing fleeces. They might need a specific type of wool or only a large quantity, however.
• Direct to handspinners: either sell the whole, unwashed fleece, or remove dirty locks and wash the fleece to add value.
• Further processed: send the fleece to a cottage mill and have the fleece made into yarn only, or made into yarn and then a finished item such as socks, hats, scarves, toys, or blankets. Items may be woven, knitted, or felted.
• Processed by the farmer into any of the items listed above and sold through:
To learn more, consult the ATTRA resource Tips for Marketing Sheep and Goat Products: Fiber. This concise tipsheet provides useful information such as advantages and considerations of marketing fiber, marketing options, and fiber marketing tips. You’ll also find a list of further resources that can provide avenues for further study.
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