The son of a dairy farmer, 38-year old Campbell Feather, his Northern Irish wife Sara and 2 children Patrick and Amelie, raise 1150 Romney ewes and 200 hogget’s on 275 ha of medium hill country in Sherenden, Hawke’s Bay.
Even though he grew up on the family dairy and spent a few years invested into it, Campbell was always attracted to the hills and started sheep farming in 2008 after a ten year career as a professional rugby player.
Campbell has a huge respect for wool and says it can be undervalued both in and out of the industry. He is frustrated when he sees a generation of people around him who do not recognise its value.
“My sister-in-law in the UK recently put new carpets in her house. She chose synthetics because she was told they are easier to clean, hard wearing and cheaper. A natural woollen alternative was not even available to her”
Campbell firmly believes the image of wool needs to change “A whole generation of people, especially abroad have no idea about the capabilities of wool or its special qualities. As an industry we need to target the younger affluent generation, of whom the integrity of a product weighs heavier than the price”
The young farmer joined Primary Wool Co-operative four years ago after hearing about it from Hamish DeLautour, he was sold on the idea right away. He sees the success of Fonterra first hand and considers the co-operative business model to be the best option for farmers.
“The wool co-operative is outstanding. It has been a real credit to them to keep chipping away at it for so many years.”
Though positive about the future of the industry, Campbell does see an opportunity that is often overlooked by many members. “Younger farmers need to be included in the higher echelons of the industry. As so often these people have lived overseas and experienced life in the markets that we are trying to target. Wool as a product has the highest integrity; however it fetches the lowest returns”