THE sudden removal of the wool floor-price scheme in 1991, while arguably a right move for the long-term, devastated many Kangaroo Island wool producers in the short-term.
And while the island's agricultural and economic base changed, it led to the emergence of diverse enterprises.
A major part of that agricultural economic output from KI is still high-quality wool production, contributing about $25 million with the region producing about 8 per cent of South Australia's wool clip.
In the soul-searching that took place after the removal of the floor-price scheme, new ventures and the potential for 'branding' emerged.
And following this lead, vets Greg Johnsson and Deb Lehmann have established a KI Sheep Production Group with a commitment to animal husbandry, initially with about 25 Kangaroo Island sheep producers.
Out of this group has evolved Kangaroo Island Wool, a shareholder-owned company established late in 2011. It consists of 17 grower-shareholders with Greg and Deb veterinary practice shareholders. Greg is also its public officer.
The group objective is to promote KI as the premier woolgrowing region, and to foster relationships between its grower-shareholders and customers further down the supply chain.
Nick Clark is the chairman of KI Wool with Christine Berry, Keith Bolto and Brett Gregor the other current board members.
"We know we have a unique, tightknit community of growers who are all passionate about how they go about producing wool. As a testament to this we are constructing a tailor-made code of practice developed by our own vet," Nick said.
"Growers within the shareholder group have made huge improvements in clip quality and quantity through the use of advanced genetic selection.
Many of the group have been using objective-measurement breeding values for a number of years and some shareholder flock
s are major contributors to the MerinoSelect data base."
Last month KI Wool hosted delegates from Japanese Wool processor and trading company Motohiro & Co Ltd, and Japanese retailer D-Breath Co Ltd.
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