From Farm to Floor

IMG_0134_2 IMG_0131_2 IMG_0129_2Shadbolt farm Barrys Bay

THE FARM

Banks Peninsula Wool Growers are a group of 19 Banks Peninsula farmers united in a desire to grow the value of their strong wool.

In 1990 Mark Shadbolt and group of farmers in the Southern Bays Discussion Group got together on a regular basis to talk farming. Over the years it became clear that to increase the price of their wool they needed to work together. In 2006 the group decided to explore options to raise wool returns. In 2009 they formed the Banks Peninsula Wool Growers Ltd to pool resources and start getting things happening in the marketplace.

They wanted to do that – not only to increase the value of the wool but also strengthen their farming community and uphold farm practices that would ensure farming on the Banks Peninsula would stay viable.

The group realized they had to take a long term view. The aim was to try and grow profits over a 3 to 5 year time frame. The idea was to link with manufacturers and retailers in the international marketplace and to establish long-term supply contracts.

The groundwork to get there has involved getting the quality of what they produce recognized. They’ve worked with industry groups like the former Wool Partners to help with that. Wools of New Zealand emerged as the obvious partner to link their wool with the international markets. They’ve also established their own brand –Banks Peninsula Farms – as a selling point for themselves and their region. Wools of New Zealand is a NZ marketing and wool sales company jointly owned by the farmers. The company takes New Zealand wool from the farm to the floor.

The farmers believe they have wool that sets them apart. They say it is high quality. Because of weather, soil and farm practice they believe they have a particularly bright strong and white wool. Their fiber is tested by Laneve, but they also set themselves further standards.

They have an extra focus on clip preparation, a dip residue test, low pesticide use and a range of other on-farm practices that they believe set them apart.

Other selling points for the Banks Peninsula Farmers brand include:

– Distinct location, free range, sustainable, extensive farming operation, QA , stable genetic base, stable farming system, multi-generational farm.

– End consumers will be able to pinpoint the farm their carpet was grown on.

The problem is that in the US only 3% of the carpets are wool.  Consumers in the United States need think about sustainability.  I believe that New Zealander’s are at the forefront of self sufficiency, lifestyle and sustainability.   A look around their county quickly gives this impression.

Mark Shadbolt is a fifth generation farmer on this land. He farmed it with his Dad until he retired at age 88. Now Mark and his wife, Biddy, farm the 2,000 acres which overlooks Akaroa Harbour.

The farm still has blocks of native bush and there are crystal clear natural springs throughout, providing water for animals and people alike.

The farm runs from sea level to about 2,200 feet, which makes it steep hill country, and the tops of the hills are often dusted with snow for a couple of weeks in the winter. They run deer, sheep and cattle together, which we find helps with pasture management and better feed utilization.

THE FLOOR

Hemphill’s Rugs & Carpets is one of the largest retailers of wool carpet and area rugs in Southern California.  The showroom is recognized by the Wools of New Zealand as a Premier Partner Showroom of Excellence.   The showroom is filled with great wool carpet products from Stanton, Karastan, Fabrica, Masland, Nourison, Woolshire, Bellbridge, Couristan, Radici, Unique Carpets, Robertex, Carousel, J. Mish, Godfrey Hirst and more….

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About hemphillbrett
Floorcovering specialist

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