The Sheep Venture Co. (SVC) — a wholly owned for-profit company operated by the Englewood,
Colo.-based American Sheep Industry Association — has received a loan from the National Livestock
Producers Association’s Sheep Loan Fund Committee for the purchase of a continuous wool-top
chlorine/polymer treatment equipment line that will modify fiber in wool products, enabling them to
be machine-washed and dried without shrinking and meet “Total Easy Care” consumer standards. The
manufacturing line will be used to process both military and commercial wool products.
More than 2 million pounds of wool for commercial markets currently are shrink-treated in
foreign countries. “Currently, this wool shrink-treatment process is only available overseas, which
increases costs, delivery times and eligibility for military wool products,” said Margaret Soulen
Hinson, president, SVC. “Of concern is that our domestic mills are less competitive without this
process and it will prohibit the use of washable wool products by the military, which is American
wool’s largest domestic customer.” The Berry Amendment stipulates that products purchased by the
U.S. Department of Defense must be of U.S. origin whenever possible.
Hinson stated that the process not only will help establish new business but also will remove
the risk of losing current military knitwear business because a dependable shrink-treatment process
has not been available in the United States. “Domestically processing U.S. wool from sheep to
garment will lead to increased demand for U.S. wool products, which in turn will increase domestic
demand for our wool.”
The new line, to be installed at Jamestown, S.C.-based Chargeurs Wool USA Inc., will enable
companies to apply the washable treatment to U.S. wool products. The equipment is scheduled to
arrive this fall and will be installed and commissioned sometime early winter. SVC expects the line
to be in full production by the beginning of 2011.
May 18, 2010