There are two new faces behind New Zealand's Campaign for Wool, both with a strong grower perspective.
Bay of Plenty's Rick Powdrell and Hawke's Bay's Tom O'Sullivan have been invited to join the Campaign for Wool New Zealand Trust.
The Campaign for Wool aims to increase consumer demand for woollen products, restoring profitability throughout the industry, especially for growers.
Co-chaired by Hawke's Bay wool broker Philippa Wright and Devold Wool Direct NZ general manager Craig Smith, other trust members include independent wool broker Richard Kells, Gisborne farmer Sandra Faulkner and administrator Vicki Linstrom, who manages the trust's Wool in Schools programme.
Amias Taylor is the Campaign for Wool NZ's UK representative.
Philippa says she's genuinely excited about having two more growers on the trust with such varied backgrounds and with a drive for education and awareness.
"With Tom's background in marketing and Rick's knowledge in politics, putting them alongside our other farmer, Sandra Faulkner, who also has an involvement in farming politics, helps us gain a stronger voice."
Rick farms a 446ha property (382ha effective) south of Te Puke. As well as carrying 1950 romney ewes and 500 hoggets, the farm winters 200 beef cattle and takes on 175 dairy heifers in December as dairy calves (60 of those are kept on over their second winter). It is a family farm owned by his grandparents and parents before him.
The former Federated Farmers national meat and fibre chairman says his Federated Farmers work and his current role as chairman of the Primary ITO's stakeholder council have given him a wide network of people across the industry. But he's driven by a personal enthusiasm for wool.
"I'm passionate about wool, but frustrated. I was part of the drive to get the levy back a few years ago. I made it through that bruising encounter and I'm still here. We do need some form of national body but it's getting it in the right form and doing the right things.
"Green revolution might not be the right term but I think that's probably our best tool to achieving a return to major use of wool products, particularly strong wool products. We've seen the fine wool do well and when you look around, for example, in a place like Wanaka there is shop after shop, full of fine wool clothing products.
"With more and more focus on plastics and microfibres and all these things, there's a real opportunity to turn this thing around. That's what attracted me to the Campaign for Wool trustee role, what they're doing with the Wools in Schools and Wools in Architecture programmes.
Many kids today, whether it is food or wool, have no understanding about the processes of what appears on their food table or on their bodies or on the floor or those drapes they pull at night. This is a good start for addressing that."
Like Rick, Tom O'Sullivan says he's been a passionate sheep farmer all his life. Growing up on a farm in mid Canterbury, his first memory of wool is the story about his grandfather paying for the purchase his entire 1600-acre farm with one wool cheque in the 1950s.
For more information about New Zealand's part in the campaign for wool visit www.nzwool.co.nz