National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

18 April 2013

A group of young farmers from Bedfordshire YFC gained a first-hand insight into the complete wool supply chain when they visited the headquarters of the British Wool Marketing Board in Bradford.

The tour was one of a number of visits planned for 2013 as part of the ‘Walk the Wool Chain’ study tours, a joint initiative between the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs and the British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB).

The group, which included young sheep farmers, were shown every aspect of the BWMB’s work in grading, trading and promoting wool and also visited a scouring plant.

The first part of their day included a visit to BWMB’s central depot at North of England Wools, Bradford where wool is graded to determine the quality to ensure it’s sold into the correct market, explained BWMB Producer Communications Manager Gareth Jones:

“It’s always a surprise to many farmers when they see the level of skill involved in grading wool and the labour intensive nature of the job. It is an essential part of BWMB’s role as we ensure that wool is sold to the producers’ best advantage’’.

The visitors also saw a wool auction in action, getting to see buyers from across the UK bidding in the BWMB’s electronic auction and seeing how the auction system helps maximise the value of their wool, said Mr Jones.

Sheep farmer and Leighton Buzzard YFC member Henry Hunt said the visit had provided them with a real insight into a previously unknown part of the farming industry:

“We all tend to forget about our wool once it’s left the farm, so it was good to really understand what happens to it once the BWMB have it.

“To a lot of people wool might be just wool, but the skill in which the graders grade the different fleeces showed just how much difference there is in the many types and qualities of wool we produce in the UK and that’s why it’s so important to make sure it’s sold as the right grade.”

Bedford YFC member Charlie Shiner added:

“I would strongly encourage more farmers to take the time to visit Bradford and understand for themselves what happens to wool once they’ve sent it to their depot.”

NFYFC and the BWMB will be organising a further three study tours between September and March, just visit the Walk the Wool Chain page for more information and details of how to book.

You can see more pictures from the trip on the Bedfordshire YFC website.


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