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Beyond the Bale : December 2017
AWI ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING AWI held its 2017 AGM on Friday 17 November in Sydney. At the AGM, I gave a detailed presentation of the activities of the company during 2016/17 and spoke about the level of optimism around the Australian wool industry not seen for many decades. International marketing campaigns continue to connect more retailers, brands and consumers with Australian wool, aided by the development of new and innovative fabrics. Meanwhile, on-farm research, development and extension initiatives such as the Merino Lifetime Productivity project, wild dog control and Lifetime Ewe Management help woolgrowers lift their production and profitability. AWI shareholders who were unable to attend the AGM in person were able to view the AGM proceedings via webcast. This was the sixth time that AWI has webcast its AGM. As well as being broadcast live, a recording of the webcast of the 2017 AGM is available to be viewed on the AWI website at www.wool.com/2017agm MORE WOOL IN SPORTSWEAR A key part of AWI’s marketing strategy is to place a large focus on increasing Merino fibre’s presence in the sports and outdoor market. We are increasingly collaborating with leading manufacturers and brands in these sectors to promote the natural benefits of wool as a performance fibre. There are several examples reported in this edition of Beyond the Bale: from mountaineering and snowboarding to sailing and yoga – and even the iconic gondoliers of Venice. While there are many sports and outdoor brands now incorporating wool in their collections, I believe there is still further significant potential for growth in demand for wool in these sectors. GETTING ON WITH BUSINESS We are continuing with initiatives to help increase the demand for wool through investments in marketing and R&D – from farm to fashion. Stuart McCullough Chief Executive Officer Australian Wool Innovation RESULT OF DIRECTOR ELECTIONS At the AGM, AWI shareholders re-elected Colette Garnsey and James Morgan and elected Don Macdonald to the AWI Board. The AWI Constitution stipulates at least a third of the Board, currently made up of seven members, must retire their positions every two years. In 2017, the incumbent AWI directors to retire were Colette Garnsey, James Morgan and Paul Cocking who all chose to re-stand for election; nominations were received from Don Macdonald and Will Wilson. Following the meeting, Wal Merriman was re-elected as Chairman and he thanked Paul Cocking for his years of dedicated service and contribution to the Board of AWI. As part of this year's election of directors there were a number of woolgrowers who have voiced their concern at not receiving voting papers. It is important to note, that although eligible wool levy payers can participate in WoolPoll every three years, levy payers must choose to become an AWI shareholder to be eligible to vote in director elections. This written invitation is sent to levy payers every year, although levy payers can apply (at any time during the year) using the form located on the AWI website at www. wool.com/shareholders. WOOLQ: THE WOOL EXCHANGE PORTAL An example of innovation at AWI is WoolQ, formerly known as the Wool Exchange Portal. The new online portal will launch in July 2018. It is designed for woolgrowers, classers, brokers and buyers seeking access to data, selling choices and trading opportunities. In advance of July, there will be various updates and opportunities for woolgrowers and other wool industry participants to be involved in trialing the portal. Register your interest at www.woolq.com to ensure you are kept up to date. WILD DOG EXCLUSION FENCING Combatting wild dogs remains a key priority for AWI. Our investment on behalf of woolgrowers has been calculated to produce a return of $8.60 for every dollar invested over the past few years. A control option that has been generating much interest recently is wild dog exclusion fencing. To help woolgrowers who are considering, planning, building or maintaining exclusion fencing, AWI has produced a 36-page practical guide that provides an overview and photos of many types of exclusion fences that are being used successfully by Australian woolgrowers to protect their sheep, and also control total grazing pressure. You can download a copy at www.wool.com/exclusionfencing or request a copy from the AWI Helpline on 1800 070 099. POSITIVE PRICES DURING 2017 As 2017 draws to a close, we can reflect on another very positive year for woolgrowers. Due to improved demand, the EMI has been well above 1,400 cents for the entire year. While the EMI has been relatively stable – which is a positive in itself – the trend is still upwards with the EMI reaching above 1,500 cents for most of the second half of the year and pushing above 1,600c on several occasions. This consistently high EMI has been very rewarding to watch during the year and, more importantly, very rewarding financially for many woolgrowers. We hope that 2018 continues on this positive note. And with this in mind, I wish you a very happy Christmas and prosperous New Year. UPFRONT 3