31 Jan 2014

Primary Wool membership on the up

9:02 pm on 31 January 2014

Farmer wool co-operative Primary Wool is enjoying the biggest increase in its membership in years.

This week the co-operative, which is half owner of Elders Primary Wool, announced a profit of almost $2 million which, at 71 cents a share, was the largest in its 39-year history.

Chairman Bay de Lautour says the Primary Wool co-op has more than 1100 farmer members, which was increasing at a rate of about 12 a month.

Mr de Lautour said as well as direct financial benefits such as last year's 10 percent dividend and annual rebates, farmers were recognising the co-operative's reinvestment back into the wool industry.

"Farmers are starting to realise that we have a lot more earnings to actually put into industry good so in fact that whole 71 cents a share is going back into the industry."

That was effectively halving a farmer's wool sale charges, he said.

"So the more wool that goes through Elders Primary Wool, the more money will be spent with the campaign, the wool and other industry initiatives."

The co-op's 1100 members accounted for only about 10 percent of the industry - something Mr de Lautour would like to see increase to 50 percent.

"If we did have that sort of numbers, we would really be able to make a difference as far as the industry spend is concerned," he said.