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Beyond the Bale : September 2011
19 OFF-FARM September 2011 BEYOND THE BALE Next, AWI Communications Manager Marius Cuming compiled a short story for the Snowgum Winter 2011 Catalogue. After a phone conversation with Ross Sherlock, it didn't take long for Marius to realise Ross, Liz and their 5000-head Merino flock were natural advocates for the fibre they produce. With snow gum trees native to the high country property and Merinos thriving in temperatures from -12oC in the winter and 40oC in the summer, the story of Merino wool amongst the snow gums nearly wrote itself. Ross and wife Liz are the fourth generation of the Sherlock family to live at "Kia Ora", an 1800 hectare property which has been in the family for over 100 years. "Our sheep do really well up here," Ross says. "The Australian Merino is an amazing animal and has adapted so perfectly to every Australian landscape, including this property which I am pleased to say, has plenty of snow gums on it as well as manna and ribbon gums. "I left school when I was 16 to come home and help run the farm; it has been my life. I love animals and I like the opportunity to be my own boss and improve the land. I love it here and it's great to be part of an industry so in tune with nature." The Sherlocks are now featured in the new Snowgum 2011 catalogue (accompanied by Gordon's photos) -- an example of how a simple idea can be realised through AWI and supply chain partners working together. The next step for Snowgum is to identify more woolgrowers from around the country who grow the wool for their products. In future, these growers and their stories are planned to be a key feature on their website. AWI CEO Stuart McCullough said farmers, their sheep and the natural environment they live in are all great marketing tools for Australian wool. "This exercise was remarkably effective and we are very fortunate to have passionate woolgrowers and brokers willing to help connect the marketing story. "The key to this particular exercise was to keep it simple. It was a matter of AWI helping introduce one end of the supply chain to the other. And now proven effective, this is a value-add service AWI can offer licensees and retail partners who specifically preference Australian wool. The AWTA Certificates back up the story." All Woolmark marketing programs -- including the 'Merino. No Finer Feeling', 'Campaign for Wool' and the 'Woolmark Gold' campaigns -- firmly link products available at retail to the natural fibre source. More information: www.snowgum.com.au Stephen Feighan - AWI 02 8295 3107 "WE WERE KEEN TO LINK OUR GARMENTS BACK TO THE NATURAL LANDSCAPE IN WHICH THE FIBRE IS GROWN, THE FAMILIES AND OF COURSE THE MERINOS THAT MAKE IT ALL POSSIBLE" ROSS ELLIOTT, SNOWGUM Pages from the Snowgum 2011 catalogue featuring the Sherlock's on-farm story and promoting the natural benefits of Merino. Merino apparel for sale on the racks of the Snowgum store in Sydney.