Speaking with John Lamason about the wool industry, one immediately feels like they have hit the wool industry knowledge jackpot. He is rich in stories about the history of the industry, passionate about the fibre itself, knowledgeable about its synthetic rivals and recognises the value of proactive marketing tactics.
Raising romney’s on 1400 acres of hill country, John and his wife Debbie have been members of Primary Wool Co-operative since 1974 – the beginning of the co-operative itself.
John easily shares parts of the co-operative’s story as if it was his own. It was originally formed in Dannevirke as East Coast Wool Co-operative to support a new woolspinning plant, New Zealand Woolspinners Ltd, and to allow farmers to participate further down the supply chain in scouring, spinning and exporting. (Read here for more about the history of the co-operative)
“The co-operative had a dream of farm-to-yarn production,” John says. “I am pleased to see they are still capturing the essence of the dream and membership is growing.” Like many co-operative members he is excited about Just Shorn™ and everything coming through the pipeline.
A strong believer in the co-operative model, John is optimistic about what Primary Wool Co-operative can accomplish. He is passionate about farmers being able to control their own destiny, believing it is essential that farmers see where their product goes and be a part of the entire process. This is invaluable for farmers to get the best value for their product – in every agricultural industry.
John recognises the wool industry faces a formidable opponent in the synthetic industry. “People have seen the rhino stomping* out there on the carpet and I wouldn’t be surprised if farmers put it in their own homes because the advertising was so effective.”
He is saddened there are so many untruths and untold stories about wool when the fibre and its story are powerful. “I would love it if more parents were told to put their kids in woollen nightgowns and bedding and why. To put it on their floors because it is easy to clean, it is sustainable and warm. I know we’re small but there is so much to be shared. We need to be telling people about the rest of the story.”
*Referring to a synthetic carpet advertising campaign
For more about an organisation that is working hard to tell that story, be sure to visit Campaign for Wool – New Zealand.