The good news keeps coming for New Zealand’s wool industry, with Beef + Lamb New Zealand announcing more than half a million dollars worth of funding will be shared among seven entrepreneurial wool projects.
A contestable fund to share out remaining wool levies has been set up to provide assistance to businesses demonstrating the greatest potential to pump money back into the wool industry, and back into farmers’ pockets.
Applicants are required to show their commitment to investing time, money and resources to ensure the success of their project. The Wool Levy Fund matches funding from the applicant group 50:50.
The successful projects range from researching the production of an environmentally friendly wool-based material for use in personal hygiene and wound-care products, to the development of practical tools to avoid underweight wool bales. The seven funding recipients were selected by an advisory panel from a field of 28 applications.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief operating officer Cros Spooner says the projects show “there is some genuine passion and talent with companies involved in the New Zealand wool industry”.
“We believe each of the seven projects we’ve funded has a very real chance of delivering value back to New Zealand farmers, which is great news.”
The successful projects are:
* Eastbourne-based Potroz-Smith Technologies Ltd is researching the production of an environmentally friendly, super absorbent wool-based material for use in personal hygiene and wound-care products.
* NZ Wool Services International is looking to develop practical tools to avoid underweight bales, which currently cost the industry an estimated $4 million a year.
* Wellington company The Formary is finding ways to blend New Zealand strong wool and a waste material to develop commercial and domestic interior products.
* Wool Partners International and Banks Peninsula Wool Growers Group are working together to develop a sustainable carpet using natural processes and materials, including low pesticide, ethically-produced, traceable New Zealand wool.
* Alliance Group from Invercargill plans to incorporate wool production into its Hoofprint software package, which was developed in conjunction with Dunedin-based AbacusBio to measure on-farm carbon footprints.
* Matamata manufacturer Wool Equities will carry out market research, design and produce samples, and establish markets for high value bed blankets for premium international markets.
* The New Zealand Shearing Contractors’ Association will use the funding to establish a quality assurance programme, underpinning recent work to ensure accredited shearing operators provide consistent product descriptions and demonstrate socially sound and sustainable business practices.