Hamish and Cilla Carswell


Change in the Air

Last August, after 14 years in rural agribusiness, Hamish Carswell and his family made a major career and lifestyle change to sheep and beef farming. “We wanted a change in career and to provide a similar lifestyle for our children to that which we enjoyed when growing up” Hamish says.

Hamish grew up in southern southland on a farm that his father purchased from his grandparents. He, his wife Cilla, and his two children, Anna (9) and Ben (7), purchased and now work on 800 acres in Dunback. They run about 1400 stock units at an average of about 400 m above sea level – predominately running Romdales. This farming family dreams of growing with their time on the farm.

Primary Wool Co-operative

Hamish found out about Primary Wool Co-operative through a friend and, with a background in rural sales and marketing , he likes the developing story.

 “I like what they are doing from my marketing background – they are building a need for wool from customers back to farmers,” Hamish says, “For me it wasn’t the cheap wool packs – it was the feeling that someone was trying to do something to build our profile in markets. In past years many in the wool industry have just been clipping the ticket, not adding value. It was highlighted at a recent meeting that the last 2 generations of American consumers aren’t aware that woollen carpets are a really viable option, they are just don’t understand the attributes of this great natural fibre. The worrying point is that similarly the last 2 generations of NZ consumers may well be of a like mindset. ”

He believes if everyone in the co-operative shares the story and the benefits they can receive with one other grower, the return on investment can only grow.

The Wool Industry

Hamish recently drove 2 ½ hours to attend an Elders Primary Wool meeting in Balclutha. The venue was packed, the attendees upbeat and he left excited about the progress and the future of the Just Shorn™ programme.

“I am hopeful for the wool industry if unification can occur. I am hopeful that we can change from past mistakes,” Hamish says. “This is why I’m in favour of the Just Shorn direction – it’s already a success story.”