ASI Awards Baler Grants
December 21, 2018

The American Sheep Industry Association has awarded $5,000 grants to five shearers to assist with the purchase of wool balers in 2019. The shearers will cover the bulk of the costs associated with their baler purchases.

As domestic and international freight costs are a significant expense to the American wool industry, the ASI Wool Council developed a Wool Baler Program to incentivize the purchase and production of American wool presses (balers) as well as minimize wool freight costs. This project aims to encourage the use of balers that can be maintained and repaired in the United States, produce bales that are a standard size and emphasize the importance of proper wool bale weights to producers, shearers, warehouseman, pools and co-ops.

While assisting shearers directly, the program supports American sheep producers by allowing them to generate better returns on their wool clip. Producers will also benefit as the new balers will replace older balers that are prone to delay-causing breakdowns.

Grant recipients will be required to submit a final report - including photos or videos - and documentation that the baler meets all program requirements. Requirements include: the baler must be made in the United States, it must produce an average bale weight of between 400 and 500 pounds, produce a uniform bale size of 32 inches by 52 inches, and come equipped with all necessary safety features.

Notifications of the program were sent to shearers during the last two months and applications were submitted and reviewed by members of the Wool Council in mid-December.

The recipients are: Allen Christensen of Utah, Fairchild Shearing of Idaho, Jayson Foley and Cliff Hoopes of Wyoming, and Ryan Keyes of Montana.