Buchanan is new chairman

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Ian Buchanan has been elected chairman of the British Wool Marketing Board.

He is the first person from Northern Ireland to hold this prestigious title in the 65 year history of the organisation.

The Dungiven sheep producer takes up his new position on April 1st.

“It is a great honour for me to have received the support of so many fellow sheep producers from all parts of the UK,” Ian told Farming Life.

“The board is one of the most efficient marketing organisations operating within the agri food sector. And we have to build on this for the future. All our efforts are focussed on delivering the best wool price for sheep producers.”

Buchanan went on to confirm that the Wool Board is totally committed to improving the service on-offer to its farmer suppliers.

“Investing in new IT technologies has already been identified as a priority,” he said.

“In this context I can confirm that our depot at Muckamore in Co Antrim will be used to trial a number of new IT based systems that can speed up the administrative processes undertaken at all our facilities when farmers deliver their wool.

“Hopefully, the trial will be up and running before the start for the 2015 season. We are currently agreeing the final details of the scheme.”

The chairman elect also pointed out that global wool markets are in a state of flux.

“China, for example, is now importing significant quantities of wool in its greasy state,” he said.

“This is good news for the likes of Muckamore, as wool can be shipped directly from there to China. But this change is putting a question mark on the long term feasibility of the two scouring plants that remain in the UK.”

Mr Buchanan concluded: “Wool prices are pretty static at the present time. Carpet quality wool prices took a bit of a dip over recent weeks.

“However, the board’s auction system remains the most efficient way to sell wool on behalf of all our farmer suppliers.”