Following the first meeting of the Wool Council, IFA Sheep Chairman Kevin Comiskey said the engagement was beneficial and he said the Council can play a key role in rewarding farmers at farm gate level for wool.
He said there are huge opportunities to develop a unique brand for Irish wool and, crucially, add value to this renewable product for sheep farmers.
It was agreed the inclusion of shearing as an action in the new Sheep Improvement Scheme would be an essential starting point. IFA has consistently pointed this out throughout the CAP process, but the Minister and his officials have refused to include it.
“Farmers must be rewarded for presenting wool to merchants in optimum condition for further use. This is a vital starting point to having a saleable and branding product,” he said.
He said the collapse in the wool market has made shearing economically unviable and has now become a significant production cost on farms.
“Without meaningful supports for wool, the Council will face a huge obstacle at the very beginning,” he said.
The Wool Council is to reconvene in January with a view to electing officers to the Council. It will also look to set out a clear strategic plan on how best the Council could promote the industry through research and marketing with the involvement of all wool stakeholders.