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15 March 2024

Bridging the gap: Educating next-generation farmers on the wool supply chain

A name that has been synonymous with farming for generations, PGG Wrightson Wool plays a vital role in the wool farming sector. Recently, they opened their doors to students from Lincoln University, offering them a firsthand glimpse into the intricate workings of the wool supply chain at their Christchurch wool store.

The event saw approximately 100 students enrolled in the Diploma in Agriculture course at Lincoln University gathering at the PGG Wrightson Wool Store. Led by industry experts including Hine Mullany, Doug McKay, and Peter McCusker, the visit aimed to provide these future farmers with insights into the details of wool handling, from farm to market.

Hine Mullany presents to Lincoln Students

Hine Mullany, a Wool Operations Representative and herself a recent graduate from Lincoln University, expressed her enthusiasm for the opportunity to engage with the students. "Being an ex-Lincoln girl myself, it was an absolute pleasure talking to the students," Mullany shared. "I think we have a responsibility to ensure the younger ones coming through have a true understanding of what it is we do because it might be the very thing that leads them into a career with wool one day."

Thomas Swart, current Lincoln University student, on his tour of the wool store.

For many of the students, like Thomas Swart, who hails from a dairy farm in Waikato, the visit offered the opportunity in explore an area of agriculture they were less familiar with. Swart reflected, "It was great to get to see the PGG Wrightson Wool Store. Being from a dairy farm, I haven’t been exposed to wool. I think it’s important to have an understanding about all aspects of New Zealand farming and agriculture."

Indeed, creating this understanding among the next generation of farmers is crucial for the longevity and sustainability of the wool industry. Throughout the visit, a range of topics were explored, encompassing the entire wool supply chain. Discussions explored the current state of the New Zealand wool industry, the outlook for strong versus fine wool, and emerging market opportunities. Students gained insights into clip preparation, specifications, delivery logistics, and inventory management.

Doug McKay, PGG Wrightson wool rep, taking the students through the wool auction catalogue. 

Key processes such as sampling, testing protocols, and display marketing strategies were also explored in detail. The PGG Wrightson Wool team provided valuable insights into the differences between auction-based sales and supply contracts, shedding light on the details of consignment amalgamation and dispatch from the store to purchasers.

The visit was more than just about sharing knowledge of the sector, PGG Wrightson Wool are aiming to create an appreciation and enthusiasm for wool farming. By engaging the students in the day-to-day operations of a wool store and the wool supply chain, PGG Wrightson Wool hoped to spark curiosity and inspire future leaders in the industry.

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