Texas AgriLife Research in conjunction with Montana State University
Wool prices over the past several years have been trending upward with prices in 2018 at all-time worldwide highs. World wool production is down to 70 year lows since 2008 according to IWTO country statistics. The US produces primarily apparel style wools with lower worldwide production of these wool types. Demand however, is increasing. All major segments of the wool textile industry report an unprecedented normal to good conditions moving forward. Demand for wool products has been supported by positive economic growth projections in major industrialized countries. Now is the time for wool producers to expand by improving the quality and quantity of wool they produce on a per head basis. ASI published a report entitled: "U.S. Sheep Industry Research, Development, and Education Priorities." This report found that twenty-five percent of survey respondents identified wool production as either their primary or secondary type of operation. There is a growing market trend toward local and American grown, raised, produced and constructed apparel. The wool labs in Montana and Texas will be the facilitator of many interactions between wool growers, processors and manufacturers. Expanding avenues of domestic use are in the knitting sectors of the wool industry and include outdoor and active wear garments and socks. The goal of this proposal is to provide leadership and technical assistance to American sheep producers on wool production, preparation and marketing to help improve the quality, marketing efficiency and competitiveness of US wool both internationally and domestically. The objectives are: (1) Continue to evaluate new technology and application in wool metrology by expanding development of near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to regions outside of Texas for yield and AFD determination. (2) To develop, evaluate, and implement wool sampling procedures for on farm testing. (3) To provide educational outreach programs for producers, stakeholders, and end users of American wool. Montana State University and Texas A&M University are the only remaining university wool labs in the US. Funding will allow these universities to expand their research and outreach efforts to meet the national needs of wool growers and to increase the value of their product.