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Summaries of Projects Financed by
the NLPA Sheep & Goat Fund


Project #5 -- Wool Marketing and Supply Cooperative

This loan was established to allow a wool marketing and supply cooperative for 11,000 sheep producer/owners located in 25 states to secure warehousing facilities at several locations, inventory wool and sheep supplies, and secure working capital to maintain operating levels.

The funds will help the cooperative in several ways. First, it will allow the cooperative to reduce operating expenses and improve the return to producers in its consignment program. Second, the cooperative will be able to continue to be a major part of the domestic wool industry; the cooperative marketed 9 percent of the U.S. clip in 1998. Third, the cooperative can maintain its state-of-the-art wool grading facility. Fourth, through the grading line in Ohio and Kansas, producers can individually receive a complete grading report showing what they are producing, allowing producers with lots too small for individual producer laboratory testing to be recognized for the wool they produce and be paid a higher price than the producer who throws wool in a bag without preparation. Finally, the funds prevent the possible closure of two of the cooperative's western warehouses, which would leave many producers with only one bid for their wool throughout the Midwest.

Project #9 -- Scouring Train for a Wool Hat Company

This loan was used to purchase state-of-the-art wool scouring equipment and installation of such will allow a Texas hat company to replace 1940 vintage equipment. This acquisition will allow them to keep the first stage of wool processing, scouring, competitive in this country, allowing the production of the best quality.

Loan funds were used to purchase equipment that will add value to the operation in several ways. First, the grease recovery plant will allow the company to extract the lanolin and sell it, instead of disposing of it. Second, the equipment will produce a far better product through better blending, better prescouring dirt and veg removal, and more even bowl temperatures and water flow, which will allow for better cleansing of the fiber, heavier squeeze presses and a more precise moisture control system on the dryer, which will allow for more even moisture content. All of these features are critical to compete with the rest of the world in today's challenging market place.

Modernized scouring equipment assures U.S. wool producers of having a domestic processor, thereby adding value to the marketability of their clips.

Project #15 -- Fiber Mill

The funding received by this fiber mill will be used for building, equipment and working capitol to expand processing capabilities of the mill. The operators plan to help smaller rural farmers process wool in amounts of 50 pounds or less. By expanding their operation to handle 38,000 pounds per year it will be possible to process wool at a cost that makes wool profitable in today's global market. This expansion and upgrade will allow the mill to become a place for universities, farms and cooperatives to study as a model for value-added agriculture. They hope to develop new innovative processing and continually share this technology, along with best practices, to smaller farmers in the wool industry.

Project #16 -- Wool Warehouse

The funding received by this wool warehousing and marketing facility will be used to refinance existing financing and to establish a line of credit to be used in the normal operations in marketing wool of the producers using the services of this facility. The primary trade area served by this market includes Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota and portions of North Dakota and Nebraska. They are the only remaining producer-driven warehouse left in this entire region. The anticipated volume for 2002 is 5million pounds, an approximate increase of 1.5 million pounds over 2001. The funding of this loan will have a far reaching influence on the financial stability and profitability of the regional sheep numbers for wool production. In additional to warehousing and marketing, this operation offers wool quality improvement, grading and core testing, storage, market information and export capability. Due to the lower interest rate acquired through this funding not only will their cash flow situation be improved but also the staying power to allow this group to remain in the wool business will be strengthened.

Project #17 -- Carding Mill

This loan will provide funding for building expansion and purchase of equipment to increase the fiber processing capabilities of this for-profit carding mill. This mill specializes in a niche market serving small flock owners. They are able to process small individual quantities of fiber into batts, roving and webs. Their services satisfy a growing market demand in the United States. The portion of this niche market where they concentrate their efforts are those small flock operators that demand excellence in their fibers and are willing to pay well for this excellence. They are able to process fiber into a usable and or marketable condition. The goal of this fiber mill, based on this funding, is to increase their fiber preparation capacity and increase their carding capacity in order to increase their pound output and their revenue.

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Project #19 -- Fiber Mill

The funding received by this start-up fiber mill, in northern Maine, will be used for building renovation, purchasing fiber processing equipment and working capital to establish a mill that will process small lots of wool according to customer specifications. The operators plan to help smaller rural farmers process wool for just roving, into yarn or actually to produce a finished woven product. The short-term goal is to handle locally processed fiber and fiber sent to the mill from across the country. Within only a few months the owners anticipates employing individuals from the local community. Looking ahead they plan to establish the mill as a tourist stop, to include tours of the mill and a storefront to market the woven products, such as scarves, sweaters and blankets. This will be a boost to the local economy. As the business continues to grow they plan to spin off a home-based cottage industry to weave products.

Project #26 -- Custom Fiber Processor

A custom fiber processing business in California is using funds to enhance the service they provide to fiber animal producers and hand spinners by taking smaller lots of fiber and providing scouring, picking, carding and custom blending of fleece sent to us to process. It is their goal is to provide these value-added services to give their customers a substantial gain in their quality fiber product that will allow them to take their processed fiber and enter new markets with access to more customers and therefore realizing a greater profit margin.

Project #28 -- Wool Marketing

Funds are being used by an wool marketing association in Utah to purchase and renovate a new warehouse for its operations. The associationhandles wool from eight states in the Northwest. Their producers range from small farm flocks to large commercial operations. The association sells wool to several buyers in the United States and has sold directly overseas.

Project #39 -- Wool Processing

A company in Wyoming is using funds to establish an early state wool processing facility.The objective of the company is to enable producers to add value to their wool, thereby increasing their profitablity and sustaining the rural way of life. The facility will offer the following services/products: wool scouring, blending, combing, carding, spinning, top, roving and yarn and is pursuing non-traditional uses of wool.

Project #40 -- Wool Processing

A company in Wyoming is using funds to establish an early state wool processing facility.The objective of the company is to enable producers to add value to their wool, thereby increasing their profitablity and sustaining the rural way of life. The facility will offer the following services/products: wool scouring, blending, combing, carding, spinning, top, roving and yarn and is pursuing non-traditional uses of wool.

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Project #42 -- Wool Washable Process Plant

This loan was established with a sheep company to bring a wool washable process to the United States. The funds will be used for approximately half of the payment of a second-hand wool shrink resistant treatment equipment line.

This process will help the U.S. wool producer by making it easier to process washable wool products in the U.S. and increase the use of American wool by U.S. military. The process will help obtain further military wool product business, support domestic wool mills and processors, build new business and eliminate the risk of losing current knitwear business to the military due to lack of dependable shrink process in the United States.

Project #46 -- Wool Scouring Plant

This loan wa established with a wool processing plant in Texas, which is this nation’s only remaining facility that scours U.S. produced wool.

The U.S. sheep industry has faced a variety of issues including shrinking sheep numbers, reduced U.S. and global demand for wool, loss of domestic customers and competition from other countries. This plant is needed because it will assist sheep producers with production, profitability and quality.

The funds will give this plant the opportunity to develop wool blends requested by foreign buyers, and implement initiatives identified to maximize efficiency within the plant so it can once again become globally competitive.

Project #48 – Wool Processing Mill

This loan was established with a wool processing mill located in the southeast section of the U.S. This mill will give small scale producers the opportunity to generate a value added product which will help make their sheep operations profitable, rather than selling into wool pools where they are only able to recoup a fraction of the cost of raising the sheep.

The funds will be used to upgrade the current location, as well as to purchase several needed new machines, such as a picker, pin drafter, spinning frame and a skein winder. An appropriate washing set up, which will entail an industrial water heater, sinks, washing machine and drying racks, will also need to be installed.

Project #49 -- Wool Insulation

This loan has helped a wool insulation manufacturer obtain funding for investment in production equipment and facilities, which includes the initial phases of a greatly expanded marketing and research program.

In addition to the relatively high volume utilization of domestic wool in grades that might otherwise be wasted, the operation will create approximately 30 new jobs. These will be family wage opportunities in the manufacturing, marketing, distribution and management areas of the facility.

Project #50 -- Wool Combing Mill

This loan was was established to finance the working capital of a wool combing mill in South Carolina, which entails the purchasing of greasy wool. This is the only wool combing mill in the United States. It is a vital part of the wool processing chain that supplies wool top for commercial and military business.



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