BILLINGS-American wool is in high demand by the U.S. textile industry especially those with military contracts.

The American Sheep Industry’s Wool Council hosted a military wool tour in the Carolinas this week showcasing the wool mills that turn raw wool into fine wool fabric.

For textile companies like Burlington, their business model is simple.

Ashley Bullock, Jr. is the Manager of Government Contract Sales for Burlington Wool Mills in Raeford, NC.

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“If they’re not sheep being raised and wool being sheared, we’re out of business,” Bullock said. “At the end of the day, the sheep is still the most important of all entities because it produces the raw material that we work from and it’s the thing we need the most.”

The tour was educational allowing participants to see what happens to wool when it leaves the farm gate.

“We’ve seen in two days greased wool that just arrived from the ranch go through the scouring and top making process, then we followed the top over here to Burlington and what we have in front of us is finished fabric that’s getting ready to go to the American military,” the American Sheep Industry Association’s Executive Director Peter Orwick said.

Hosted by the American Wool Council, one of the tour’s objectives was to connect those in the textile industry with wool producers.

“We had a wonderful opportunity to explain that we have a good supply of wool that’s adequate to meet the military’s specifications,” the American Wool Council’s Chairman Ken Wixom from Blackfoot, Idaho said. “We have a lot of good fine wool and we do a good job of putting it up. We were able to relay that to them.”

-Russell Nemetz reporting for MTN News