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Young farmers get chance to witness wool supply chain
18
Apr '13
As part of the ‘Walk the Wool Chain’ study tours, a joint initiative between the British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB) and the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs (NFYFC) a group of young farmers from Bedfordshire YFC gained a first-hand insight into the complete wool supply chain when they recently visited the headquarters of the British Wool Marketing Board in Bradford.

The group, which included young sheep farmers, were shown every aspect of the BWMB’s work in grading, trading and promoting wool and also visited a scouring plant.

The first part of their day included a visit to BWMB’s central depot at North of England Wools, Bradford where wool is graded to determine the quality to ensure it’s sold into the correct market, explained BWMB Producer Communications Manager Gareth Jones.

“It’s always a surprise to many farmers when they see the level of skill involved in grading wool and the labour intensive nature of the job. It is an essential part of BWMB’s role as we ensure that wool is sold to the producers’ best advantage’’.

The visitors also saw a wool auction in action, getting to see buyers from across the UK bidding in the BWMB’s electronic auction and seeing how the auction system helps maximise the value of their wool, said Mr Jones.

Sheep farmer and Leighton Buzzard YFC member Henry Hunt said the visit had provided them with a real insight into a previously unknown part of the farming industry. “We all tend to forget about our wool once it’s left the farm, so it was good to really understand what happens to it once the BWMB have it.

“To a lot of people wool might be just wool, but the skill in which the graders grade the different fleeces showed just how much difference there is in the many types and qualities of wool we produce in the UK and that’s why it’s so important to make sure it’s sold as the right grade.”

And being able to see the wool process from grading right through to the scouring process was a great insight too, added group member Henry Shaw.

Bedford YFC member Charlie Shiner said that he had been greatly impressed by how the BWMB integrates into the rest of the wool supply chain. “I would strongly encourage more farmers to take the time to visit Bradford and understand for themselves what happens to wool once they’ve sent it to their depot.”

Members of the group also saw a wool scouring plant in action and were given a presentation detailing the promotion and marketing activity of the highly successful Campaign for Wool, explained Mr Jones.  “There has never been a global collaboration and promotion about the qualities of wool as a fibre - with the good work being done by the Campaign for Wool there are a lot of opportunities to be had.”

British Wool Marketing Board

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