Comment: The Wool Industry Working Group is taking the lead in securing a future for New Zealand wool writes Federated Farmers Meat & Wool spokesperson Miles Anderson.
Farming leaders are moving to extinguish the long-burning fires within the wool industry.
Wool industry leaders have come together to create the Wool Industry Working Group (WWG) to take on a number of problems producers, manufacturers, retailers and customers face.
The situation we all find ourselves in is dire.
There is a lack of market recognition of wool, wool producers are beginning to signal they may walk away from the specialised industry and so the nation's sheep numbers may drop even further, and customers' knowledge and access to the product is best described as dismal.
Read more from Federated Farmers here.
The WWG has the backing of the Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor.
This signals to me, and others within our advocacy group, we have a Minister inside the cabinet who wants to back us - so while the sun shines let's make hay.
I sit on this working group alongside two other well-known and respected Federated Farmers representatives, Simon Williamson and Sandra Faulkner.
We work well as a team and we all have the same goals.
We need to turn the fortunes of NZ wool around. Although the fine and mid-micron wool prices have been good recently crossbred wool is receiving record low prices.
Crossbred wool represents 90 per cent + of our national clip.
To get the industry moving the WWG has created terms of reference (ToR) for the Wool Industry Working Group to use.
The ToR is accessible to everyone.
This is amazing stuff. Coupled with this we have an independent chairperson appointed, John Rodwell.
These developments send the message the WWG is taking the lead in securing a future for New Zealand wool.
The next step in the process is to work on an action plan.
As an industry, we have to tell the 'Wool Story', to the world in a way that allows manufacturers of New Zealand woollen products to leverage their own brands.
We understand our product, but we are also well aware consumers' knowledge of wool, in most cases, is limited.
We need the consumer to understand the qualities of New Zealand wool and to be able to access the product.
The WWG has identified several areas it believes needs attention and we hope to present solutions to the industry very soon.
Watch this Space.