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Beyond the Bale : September 2013
3 September 2013 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. AWI three year Strategic Plan: Our Strategic Plan for the three financial years 2013/14 to 2015/16 was released on 1 July and is available on the AWI website at www.wool. com. We consulted widely with woolgrowers and their representatives to ensure that industry views are incorporated into the plan. Through AWI’s extensive Planning and Consultation Cycle, we will continue to ensure that woolgrower levies are directed to projects that deliver the greatest value to woolgrowers. A summary of the Strategic Plan was posted to recipients of Beyond the Bale along with this edition. Statutory Funding Agreement (SFA): Through a consultation process with the Federal Government we have renegotiated a new SFA between the Commonwealth of Australia and AWI. At the end of June, Minister Ludwig signed the SFA, effective from 1 July for three years. E-communications: In our endeavour to communicate better with our shareholders, AWI has launched a totally revamped Wool.com website with information and tools to help woolgrowers increase their on-farm profitability, and inform them of where AWI is investing their wool levies. Wool.com complements AWI’s other two main websites: the Woolmark.com website for trade and designer audiences, and the consumer-focused Merino.com website. AWI produces several free e-newsletters to which woolgrowers can subscribe and receive by email. Visit www.wool.com/ subscribe for details. Shearer and wool hander training: Adequate numbers of highly skilled professional shearers and wool handlers are key to the profitability of the Australian wool industry. In the past year, AWI investment has increased the number of shearers and wool handlers trained across Australia. 1571 shearers and 983 wool handlers were trained directly through the AWI shearer and wool handler training program in 2012/13. An additional 786 participants attended crutching and other introductory workshops, and 1370 high school students received an introduction to wool harvesting. AWI state networks: AWI continues to invest and grow its state based extension networks which have increased their membership base over the past 12 months to 8100. Strong partnerships with state departments, private providers and woolgrowers have secured ongoing funds for Leading Sheep (Qld), Sheep Connect NSW, BESTWOOL/ BESTLAMB (Vic), Sheep Connect Tasmania, Sheep Connect South Australia, The Sheep’s Back (WA) and Bestprac (pastoral) networks. Call the AWI Helpline on 1800 070 099 if you want to get involved with a group in your area. EverGraze regional packages: The results and recommendations from the EverGraze research program, carried out across the high rainfall zone of southern Australia between 2004 and 2013, are now available on a new EverGraze website (www.evergraze.com. au). The results have been presented as regionally relevant information packages to help producers in particular regions manage their pasture and livestock systems. The information quantifies the productivity, economic, environmental, risk and lifestyle impacts of implementing changes on farm. Merino Wool. No Finer FeelingTM: In the lead-up to the northern hemisphere autumn/winter retail season we have intensified our efforts with the Merino Wool. No Finer FeelingTM fibre advocacy campaign that is informing a new generation of consumers about the natural attributes and benefits of Merino wool. This year, the campaign involved AWI strengthening its partnerships with well-known designers, brands and fashion media. Brand endorsements of the campaign provide real penetration in fashion markets. International Woolmark Prize: The regional finalists have been announced for the 2013/14 International Woolmark Prize global final, to be held in Milan next February. The interest in this award from the fashion communities and media globally continues to be phenomenal. It is helping put wool back on the agendas of fashion designers across the world, and consequently into retail stores for consumers to purchase. Items from the 2012/13 International Woolmark Prize winning collection of Christian Wijnants are now available in the Sydney city store of David Jones. International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO): The environmental credentials of wool and the unique properties of wool that set it apart from other fibres in the marketplace were at the forefront of discussions at this year’s IWTO Congress held in June. The content of many of the presentations on the first days of the Congress echoed this theme, and Australia and AWI in particular were heavily represented. On the last day of the Congress there was an AWI-sponsored session titled “From Farm to Fashion – The Wool Supply Chain and the Consumer” led by myself and a panel of leading industrialists from Italy's fashion industry including Nino Cerruti, Paolo Zegna, Pier Luigi Loro Piana and Franca Sozzani. Annual General Meeting (AGM): The AWI 2013 AGM will be held on Friday 22 November at the Grace Hotel in Sydney. Formal notice and meeting papers will be sent to AWI shareholders in October. AWI shareholders who are unable to attend the AGM in person will be able to view the AGM proceedings via webcast. Further details are available on the AWI website at www.wool.com/agm Stuart McCullough Chief Executive Officer, Australian Wool Innovation