Wool, American Style
June 2, 2017

New Zealand Merino might be the darling of the outdoor industry but it's far from the only source of Merino wool on earth. In fact, the American West is teeming with Merino sheep.

Some, originating in France, have a tricky name. Rambouillets arrived in America in the 1840s. Their wool, says Rita Samuelson of the American Sheep Industry Association's American Wool Council, is just like Merino wool from New Zealand. It's soft and supple, with a fine micron (fiber).

"People think we don't have Merino in the U.S.," she says. "It needs saying, because we do."

New Zealand Merino burst onto the scene in the 1990s, when select companies began launching it to prominence. Soon, other companies were using Merino in socks and outdoor garments. Nearly all of these brands sourced wool from outside of the United States.

But the outdoor industry's recent burgeoning interest in American-grown wool has the ranchers who raise it feeling optimistic. The ranch to garment process is inspiring, earthy, history-rich - and one consumers should embrace. It supports a uniquely American economy steeped in tradition, bootstrap self-sufficiency, stewardship of the land and hard-working values.

Consumers have a choice. They can buy a garment made with wool from sheep they'll never see, or one with wool from sheep winding their way across Wyoming. In choosing the latter, they'll support second-, third- and fourth-generation American sheep ranching families, who are trying hard to stay afloat. Source: SNewsnet.com. To read the entire story (subscription required), visit https://www.snewsnet.com/news/wool-american-style.