Wool Marketing Association Maintains
the NLPA Sheep & Goat Fund
Story by Ross McSwain
Springs, CO (May 21, 2008) – Wool
growers from six Northwestern states will benefit from the acquisition
of new warehouse space made possible by a loan from the National
Livestock Producers Association Sheep and Goat Fund.
“Prior to the loan, we were leasing a building in Salt Lake
City,” said Will Griggs, manager of Utah Wool Marketing Association.
“The owners wanted to increase the rent to a price we simply
could not afford. It has allowed the numerous producers, who send
wool to us, to maintain a local warehouse facility. Even producers
in other states do not have to pay as much freight as they would
if sending wool to Belle Fourche, South Dakota, or to Roswell, New
Mexico,” Griggs explained. In addition, the association’s
old operating loan was set up where directors had to guarantee the
loan. This sometimes took months to get all the signatures. The
new loan also has helped the association to pay for its supplies
in a timely fashion.
“I think the (loan) fund is great and it is being used for
its intentions. Above all, it has allowed a local marketing warehouse
to stay in the area,” Griggs said.
The new warehouse facility is located in Tooele, Utah, on property
that formerly was occupied by a U.S. Army Supply Depot. The building,
containing 45,441 square feet, had no offices or rest rooms, and
the association had to add a loading dock, overhead doors, and make
space for a double dump baler and a scale pit. Modification work
on the building started in the winter of 2005 and was completed
the following spring.
The new warehouse serves wool producers from Oregon, Washington,
Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming and Utah, and Griggs hopes to have some California
growers utilizing the facility before too long. He also has growers
in Colorado and Arizona.
In interviews conducted by e-mail, Griggs said the association will
handle about 4.2 million pounds of wool this year. He tries to be
on hand to pick up the various wool pools that the marketing group
gathers for grading at the Tooele warehouse. At present, the association
charges producers 7 cents per pound handling fee. However, Griggs
expects the handling fee will be increased from 2 cents to 3 cents
in the near future to cover the rising costs of fuel.
costs are a big issue and I do see us increasing our handling fee,”
The association has a professional wool grader on its six-man staff.
The grader has 30 years experience. At one time, the grader would
travel around to various shearings and grade wool on location. He
now serves as a warehouseman, so he is at the facility fulltime.
Griggs said he has traveled over 20,000 miles since January 1, and
expects to put another 15,000 miles on his vehicle before the end
of the year. Although he does not travel to all shearings, he does
meet with wool producers to discuss marketing procedures and answer
questions concerning market prospects. He notes that the international
market appears to be changing. Europe and India are reported to
be more active now than China, a leading buyer this past year. Most
of the wool that the association handles go to Lampriere USA, Anodyne
Utah Wool Marketing Association also provides growers with various
supplies, but Griggs says he does not line up many shearing crews.
While many sheep growers in other areas of the country are finding
a shortage of shearers, he says his area has not felt a shortage.
The average shearing cost in his area is $3.40 per head.
Griggs notes that the sheep industry is presently facing some serious
“It’s no secret that the producers are struggling financially.
Most of these producers in Utah must truck their sheep from summer
range to winter range and back again. This is becoming a big cost.
The only other way to get them there is to trail them, and, at this
time with urban growth, that is not practical. Furthermore, these
producers travel to their herds about twice a week, consuming yet
more fuel. My personal thought is that if fuel prices continue upward,
as it appears it will, and lamb prices are as low as some estimates
due to increased trucking and fuel cost, more sheep producers will
be forced out of business,” Griggs observed. “One potential
positive is if the dollar remains cheap, there will be less importing
of lamb into the U.S. which might help increase lamb prices.”
Utah Wool Marketing Association is a non-profit cooperative, operated
by a 15-member board of directors who are all sheep producers. The
newly elected president is Paul Frischknecht of Manti, Utah. The
new vice president is Kim Aagard of Moroni, Utah, and Joe Broadbent
of Evanston, Wyoming, is secretary-treasurer. Griggs has served
as manager since 2000. He started work with the association in 1995
after spending his life on various sheep and cattle ranches in New
For more information or an application please contact the National
Livestock Producers Association at (800) 237-7193, ext. 10 or visit www.sheepandgoatfund.com.
The National Livestock Producers Association, founded in 1921, is
an organization of livestock marketing cooperatives and credit corporations
representing more than 215,000 livestock producers nationwide.