Research helps producers tap into growing consumer demand for sustainable wool products grown in the U.S.
The Montana Wool Lab is helping producers tap into growing consumer demand for natural fibers and wool products produced in the U.S. It’s one of only two research and service laboratories in the nation designed to help producers improve the traits of their wool through genetics, ultimately boosting their incomes sustainably.
The Northern Great Plains, including Montana, is the center of fine wool production in the United States. Montana currently ranks eighth in the nation with 250,000 head of sheep and lambs, producing 1.5 million pounds of wool. This quality wool is sought after by members of the military and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
Improving flock productivity and quality
The Montana Wool Lab has supported sheep producers for 75 years. In 2021, the lab analyzed more than 15,000 fiber samples for wool producers across the country. Specific, individual samples are used to determine the fineness of the wool by measuring its length and diameter. This analysis helps producers determine how specific samples will process into yarns and other fabrics.
Supporting producers of all sizes
The Montana Wool Lab continues to champion the wool industry in Montana and surrounding regions by running a higher number of testing samples every year. However, production is severely limited without significant expansions and upgrades. A modern, well-equipped teaching and research facility will increase testing services and act as a backup testing facility for the commercial industry across the United States.
Northwest FCS is proud to stand with others in support of this ongoing research to ensure that Montana continues to be a world leader in quality wool production for generations to come.