18 Feb 2011

Farmers reject new wool marketing body

12:49 pm on 18 February 2011

A proposed wool marketing co-operative has failed to get the support it needed from farmers.

Wool Partners Co-operative received nearly 40 million share subscriptions from farmers representing 30% of the strong wool clip by the deadline on Wednesday.

The result is well short of the $55 million minimum capital raising target and commitment of half of the strong wool supply that the co-operative said it needed to proceed.

The proposal was to buy the existing Wool Partners International joint venture from PGG Wrightson.

Co-operative chair Jeff Grant says the result is disappointing after six months of strenuous effort.

However he says farmers are urging it not to give up on efforts to get a better wool marketing structure in place for growers.

Federated Farmers meat and fibre chair Bruce Wills was among about 3000 sheep farmers who signed up for shares.

He says he agrees with the need to keep the momentum going to develop a more co-ordinated and profitable wool marketing structure.

Wool exporters, brokers and merchants had waged an intensive campaign against the proposal - driven by fears of losing business as well as the strong view that the concept was misguided from a financial perspective as well as a marketing one.

Wool Exporters Council president John Dawson says the industry now needs to put that debate behind it and get behind the new international initiatives to promote wool.

PGG Wrightson managing director George Gould says he will be meeting the Wool Partners International management and board in the next few days to explore the options open to WPI.