U.S. wool is primarily an export commodity. Certified tests for average fiber diameter, clean wool yield and other wool metrics is required to sell wool in international markets. There is only one commercial wool testing laboratory in the U.S., and it has served the industry well for over 50 years. However, in 2019, because of events outside the control of the proprietor, turnaround time between submission of wool core samples and receiving test results exceeded the acceptable length of time for commerce, which resulted in a loss of revenue for the wool sector of the sheep industry. At a meeting of wool warehouse men, buyers, growers, New Zealand Wool Testing Authority (NZWTA), ASI and other interested parties in July 2019 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in San Angelo (AgriLife) it was concluded AgriLife should collaborate with the industry and NZWTA to develop a new wool testing laboratory in the U.S.
The goal of this proposal is to provide leadership and technical assistance to American sheep producers in wool testing, production, preparation and marketing to help improve the quality, marketing efficiency and competitiveness of US wool both internationally and domestically. The objective is to convert the Bill Sims Wool and Mohair Testing Lab (BSWML) into a commercial wool testing facility to serve the US wool industry with core test results for market transaction.