Military Joins Wool Council for Colorado Tour

The American Sheep Industry Association's American Wool Council hosted a handful of special guests from the United States military in touring a Colorado range sheep operation this week.

The council meets annually each summer to recommend ASI's budget for the coming fiscal year, as well as deal with other wool-related business of the association. After a Thursday morning meeting of the council, the special guests from the United States armed forces arrived and both groups headed to Castle Peak outside Eagle, Colo., to catch up with sheep from Julie Hansmire's flock. Guests thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see her operation first-hand and enjoyed a picnic lunch in the presence of Hansmire's sheep, herders, Border Collies and livestock guardian dogs.

The military guests represent a variety of branches of the armed services and are tasked with designing military uniforms and gear, as well as coordinating purchasing of materials that go into manufacturing such products. The United States military is the largest domestic buyer of American wool. Current new products include the reintroduction of the World War II uniform - known as Pinks and Greens - that includes wool from head to toe, as well as the use of wool in the Army's new cold weather system.

"We were fortunate today that we also combined things with having the military up here on an educational tour and a chance for them to see the American sheep industry and how it starts from the ground up." said ASI Wool Council Chair Randy Tunby of Montana. "Many of the people who are part of the military group were able to join us and saw the end product on the mill tour in South Carolina two years ago. But this gives them an opportunity to see the sheep on the ground, and we want to thank Julie Hansmire for hosting us."

The two groups met again this morning to further discuss the decades-old partnership of American wool and the American military, and where that partnership can go from here. The military representatives headed home around lunchtime while the Wool Council continued its business meeting into the afternoon.

Look for more on the meeting and tour in the August issue of the Sheep Industry News.