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Beyond the Bale : December 2012
3 December 2012 BEYOND THE BALE UPFRONT 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. I would like to inform you of some recent activities in which the organisation has been involved. WoolPoll 2012: Thank you to all woolgrowers who took part in WoolPoll 2012. In total, 60.94 per cent of all possible woolgrower votes were cast, the biggest return since the triennial vote began 12 years ago. This compares to 53.7 per cent of votes returned in 2009. This is a very high level of return for a voluntary vote. WoolPoll 2012 has set a new benchmark for our industry, with the highest ever outcome for both votes and voters. The vote to maintain a two per cent levy gives AWI the opportunity to continue the progress made in recent years across all areas of the organisation. We will manage the levy income responsibly and prudently to deliver outcomes for all growers. Ovine Johne's disease (OJD): AWI hosted a productive OJD Information Forum last month in Sydney attended by woolgrowers, researchers and industry representatives. There were 24 speakers at the Forum. This meeting was an important opportunity for the greater wool and sheep industry to hear the latest OJD research, planned policy changes and to discuss the implications for livestock producers. Breech strike R&D: AWI-funded R&D continues to explore ways to best protect the Australian sheep flock from breech strike. At the latest AWI Breech Strike Research and Development Technical Update Forum, overviews of recent field trials were presented across various projects. While still in an R&D phase, SkinTractionTM being developed by Cobbett Technologies and AWI is showing some encouraging results for both breech modification and welfare. The presentations from the Forum are available on the AWI website at www.wool.com/ flystrikeRnDupdate Shearing competitions: AWI is providing support to shearing competitions at local, state and national levels. Competitions help encourage better techniques in shearing and woolhandling, which is for the benefit of the woolgrowing industry. AWI's support aims to encourage a quality workforce and inspire young people to join the industry. The support is strongly focused on the entry-level learner shearer and novice woolhandler events, for which AWI will pay the entry fees. It's important to give young and aspiring shearers and shed hands encouragement. Campaign for Wool -- The Prince of Wales: We were very pleased to be given the opportunity to meet with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales last month during his tour of Australia, and thank him, as Patron of the Campaign for Wool, for his efforts in driving a new global demand for wool. During his tour, The Prince visited a Merino property in Tasmania and a 'Farm to Fashion' event in Sydney. He said that he wanted his visit to help remind people of the importance of wool and woolgrowers to the Australian economy. Campaign for Wool -- International Wool Week: The Campaign for Wool was celebrated on an unprecedented global scale during the northern hemisphere autumn with more countries than ever creating their own programs of activity to celebrate International Wool Week across key consumer markets: USA, China, Japan, Korea, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands and Norway. The Campaign for Wool has been instrumental in driving a new demand for wool on an international scale. Brand endorsements of Merino: The Merino Wool. No Finer FeelingTM fibre advocacy campaign which positions wool as a premium and desirable fashion fibre, is getting real penetration in fashion markets. These past few months have seen a raft of endorsements in leading fashion magazines (including Vogue, Marie Claire, GQ and Esquire) and online by international designers and brands such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier and Dolce & Gabbana. The campaign is now endorsed by nearly 40 brand partners. AWI AGM 2012: AWI held its 2012 Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 23 November in Sydney. AWI shareholders who were unable to attend the AGM in person were able to view the AGM proceedings via webcast and also had the opportunity to submit questions online for the AWI Chairman and CEO. As well as being broadcast live, the broadcast is now available to be viewed on demand on the AWI website at www.wool.com/agm Vale: Rod Thirkell-Johnston AM: I would like to pay tribute, along with woolgrowers around the country, to the outstanding industry advocate Rod Thirkell-Johnston who passed away at the end of August. Rod held multiple roles within the wool industry at state and national levels including President of the Wool Council of Australia and Australian Superfine Wool Growers' Association. He also made an important contribution as a member of the 2012 WoolPoll Panel. He was an enthusiastic and effective advocate for the Merino wool industry for nearly half a century, and was a well-liked and respected individual. He will be sadly missed. Stuart McCullough Chief Executive Officer, Australian Wool Innovation