News Release Contact: Sandra Marquardt
For Immediate Release Phone: 301-592-0111
Survey: Organic wool available, used in consumer goods
Greenfield, Mass. (Oct. 27, 2003)- A survey of wool producers reveals that 28,510 pounds (12,959 kilos) of organic wool were harvested from approximately 2,300 sheep raised organically in the United States and Canada during 2001, the Organic Trade Association reports.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA), in collaboration with the National Center for Appropriate Technology's Appropriate Technology Transfer in Rural Areas (ATTRA) and the Vermont Organic Fiber Company, undertook the survey during 2002. Results from the survey, the first ever, will serve as a baseline for the organic fiber industry in measuring future progress in this sector.
"The U.S. market for organic wool is still in its infancy. Producers are seeking additional markets, and thus there is potential for more companies to begin using organic wool in apparel and bedding," according to Katherine DiMatteo, OTA's executive director. She added, "This survey helps determine how much production there is, and recognizes the importance of organic wool as a growing market."
In the survey, responses from 23 wool producers (nearly 48 percent of those meeting the criterion for the survey) showed 27,244 pounds (12,384 kilos) of grease wool (shorn, without any cleaning, scouring or further processing) were produced in ten U.S. states and 1,266 pounds (575 kilos) were produced in two Canadian provinces.
The most productive organic wool growing area (by weight of wool) was New Mexico, reporting 12,000 pounds (5,456 kilos) of certified organic wool. California was second, with 9,500 pounds (4,318 kilos). Other U.S. states and Canadian provinces reporting organic wool production included Oregon, New Jersey, Alberta, Maine, Ohio, Michigan, Vermont, Ontario, Montana and Massachusetts.
Because some producers do not measure wool production, actual organic wool poundage may be higher. According to survey results, organic meat sales represent 84 percent of producers' sheep-related income, with organic wool sales representing only 16 percent. Leading markets for organic wool currently are blankets and knit goods, such as sweaters, socks, and throws.
The wool production survey report is available from OTA for $25 for non- members and free electronically on the OTA web site for its members. To purchase the report, go to OTA's web site (http://www.ota.com/) and click on "Bookstore."
The Organic Trade Association represents the organic industry in North America. More information about OTA is available on OTA's web site (http://www.ota.com/) and its consumer web site (http://www.theorganicreport.org/).
October 27, 2003
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