UK sheep farmers should not underestimate the opportunity available to them through collective wool marketing, according to Shropshire dairy farmer Roger Evans.
Speaking at this week’s BWMB annual conference of regional committee representatives in Cardiff, Mr Evans, a former chairman of First Milk and director of Milk Marque, said wool producers had the opportunity to earn from adding value to their product in a way no other sector in UK agriculture did.
“It is adding value that earns profits in every farming sector, whether it’s wool or milk. It’s important that producers look at the long-term opportunity of what marketing their wool through the BWMB offers rather than the short-term gain presented by selling to the highest bidder on the day,”
“It is adding value that earns profits in every farming sector, whether it’s wool or milk. It’s important that producers look at the long-term opportunity of what marketing their wool through the BWMB offers rather than the short-term gain presented by selling to the highest bidder on the day,” he explained.
“When the Milk Marketing Board was disbanded dairy farmers had the opportunity through Milk Marque to maximise their collective marketing strength. Unfortunately, many dairy farmers took the short-term gain of 1p/litre on offer from processors who wanted to break up the collective strength of Milk Marque.
“Those same farmers who took the 1p/litre are now more often than not calling for the Milk Marketing Board to be resurrected.
“You as wool producers already have the infrastructure in place to work successfully together - your representative structure, your quality control and your marketing infrastructure is complete,” he explained.
“There is no reason at all why you should not operate as a successful co-operative – the world is full of successful co-operatives, it’s not new, there are examples out there. You have a golden opportunity to set an example to the rest of UK agriculture to show how large scale cooperation can work.
“Farmers working together employing the best talent to achieve their aims is a formidable combination. You must not underestimate what you can achieve,” he added.
Responding BWMB chairman and Northern Irish sheep farmer Ian Buchanan said there was no doubt in his mind that BWMB was the best opportunity wool producers had to maximise the value of their wool.
He said: “We have the collective strength in BWMB that no single farmer could ever muster on their own.
“This means we can maximise wool prices by offering significant volumes of quality assured wool to buyers and their customers from across the world, reaching far further than any other wool marketing organisation,” he said.
“Add to that the marketing and promotional profile achieved globally through the Campaign for Wool, an organisation spearheaded by BWMB, and you have a winning combination.”