British Wool’s ‘vital’ role in supply chain recognised by Defra review

Wool and a clipboard

NFU Cymru has welcomed the publication of Defra’s review into the operations of British Wool.

Published on the website, the review recognises British Wool’s role in the supply chain from collecting and marketing wool, delivering shearing courses and working with universities to develop new and innovative uses for British fleeces.

It highlights the important function British Wool provides to farmers – particularly those with smaller flocks and in remote rural areas – who would otherwise be unable to create the economies of scale needed to sell their wool.  It also identifies that many producers misunderstand what British Wool does believing that it buys wool from them and sells on to make a profit.  This is not the case, and the review makes clear that British Wool collects, grades and sells wool on behalf of its members.

Vision for the future

Defra praises British Wool for its strategy, ethos and strong vision for the future, designed to ensure it maximises returns for members. It also makes several recommendations to help future-proof the organisation and its valuable role for the sheep industry.

The review recognises that British Wool is self-funded and has sufficient operating independence that it can effectively be considered separate from government.

NFU Cymru Livestock Board Chairman Rob Lewis said: “NFU Cymru fully recognise the importance of British Wool to the sheep sector through its collection of wool and subsequent sale at auction; its work in relation to the promotion of a natural and sustainable product and the provision of training for the next generation of shearers.

“The implementation of the review recommendations would help to ensure that the organisation will be better placed to deal with the challenges faced by the 21st wool market, British Wool will be able to operate more effectively as a modern-day business that can move forward for the benefit of its wool suppliers. 

“NFU Cymru look forward to working with British Wool to help ensure that the organisation is in the best possible position to maximise the returns from the wool market for its producers.”

British Wool comments

Andrew Hogley, British Wool’s CEO said: “Defra’s review recognises the vital role that British Wool plays in the wool sector, the value we add for our members, and our contribution to the wider wool industry in the UK.  By collectively marketing the UK wool clip, on behalf of our members British Wool works to maximise the value of wool for UK farmers.”

Jim Robertson, Chairman of British Wool said: “British Wool’s board is supportive of the review’s key recommendations and looks forward to working with officials over the medium term to implement them.  Modernising the 1950 Order is long overdue and will allow British Wool to better serve members by bringing in external expertise and drive further efficiencies in the organisation.”

The report

The report is available to read in both English and Welsh

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