1 Nov 2011

New farmer trust aims to unify wool promotion

10:15 am on 1 November 2011

Another initiative is in the pipeline to bring more unity to the wool industry.

The plan centres on wool promotion and technical services body Wools of New Zealand, which has been returned to full farmer ownership through a new trust.

Wools of New Zealand was set up with farmer levy money under the old Wool Board and became part of the Wool Partners International joint venture between PGG Wrightson and a growers' group.

That was dismantled earlier this year after an unsuccessful attempt to set up a farmer co-operative to buy the assets, with PGGW taking back its wool-broking business.

Wools of New Zealand and the new Laneve brand, created under Wool Partners, have been transferred to a farmer-owned trust.

Trustee David Douglas, who farms in North Otago, says the first board meeting will be this week.

He says the trust will talking to growers and others about making Wools of New Zealand the unifying promotional body for the industry.

Wools of New Zealand is currently funded by a voluntary levy from sheep farmers who sell their wool through PGG Wrightson, which says it will remain the preferred supplier for the Laneve brand.

Wool Co looks for trust support

The farmer heading another initiative to unify elements of the wool industry is keen to talk to the trust about how they might join forces.

Cliff Heath chairs Wool Co, a joint venture between farmer owned Wool Equities Ltd and Christchurch-based investment bank Ocean Partners.

The venture is seeking to raise $40 million from farmers and other investors to buy the majority shareholding in the country's biggest wool exporter, Wool Services International.

Mr Heath says Wools of New Zealand would fit well with the new integrated marketing structure that Wool Co is proposing.

He says because of postal delays in getting information out to potential investors, Wool Co has extended its deadline for offers to 9 December, with the proviso that cheques will not be banked until February.