21 Oct 2010

Wool growers to give investment serious consideration

2:07 pm on 21 October 2010

A farming leader believes wool growers will seriously consider the investment offer from a new wool marketing co-operative.

Federated Farmers' Meat and Fibre section vice-chair Jeanette Maxwell says it is the first major investment opportunity for strong wool farmers beyond the farm gate in a long time.

Wool Partners Co-operative Limited is proposing to replace the existing Wool Partners International joint venture company, formed two years ago, with a totally farmer-owned enterprise.

It needs to raise at least $65 million from growers and half of the country's strong wool clip, and is offering shares at a $1 per kilo of greasy wool.

Jeanette Maxwell, who is also a Mt Hutt farmer, says she's likely to take up the offer if the co-operative has the right strategies in place.

She says sheep farmers will financially support the co-op if it improves their returns and the sustainability of the entire supply chain.

A farmer director of the new wool marketing co-operative believes investing in the company could be the last chance for sheep farmers to make a much-needed change in the struggling wool industry.

Mark Shadbolt, a Banks Peninsula farmer, says the proposed farmer-owned enterprise, which aims to lift wool prices and returns to growers, has been developed with the current financial performance of the industry in mind.

He says the share offer at $1 a kilo of greasy wool is affordable for farmers, including those whose businesses are very exposed at the moment or run by their banks.