New entrant backs British Wool support scheme

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The British Wool scheme, designed to support producers who have recently entered the industry, has opened again ahead of the 2019 season.

The scheme sees eligible producers receive 100 per cent of their clip value as an upfront payment for their first two years, along with a priority wool in-take and grading service through British Wool’s comprehensive nationwide depot network.

Producers then transition on to the standard payment scheme over the next three years by way of adjusted balancing payments so that, over the life of the five-year scheme, new entrants receive the same cash as they would have done had they been on the standard payment scheme throughout that period.

Eligible new entrants will receive their wool payments as follows:

  • Year 1 – the advance payment will be set to 100 per cent of the prior year’s clip value.
  • Year 2 – the advance payment will be set to 100 per cent of the prior year’s clip value plus/minus any balance from the previous year.
  • Year 3 – the advance payment will be set to 75 per cent of the prior year’s clip value plus/minus any balance from the previous year.
  • Year 4 – the advance payment will be set to 50 per cent of the prior year’s clip value plus/minus any balance from the previous year.
  • Year 5 onwards – the advance payment will be set to 25 per cent of the prior year’s clip value plus/minus any balance from the previous year.
  • Year 6 onwards – payments will be in line with all other British Wool registered producers.

A producer that has already seen benefits from the British Wool scheme is Stuart Neish, farm manager for the Cowhill Trust Estate, near Thornhill in Dumfriesshire, who invested in sheep for the first time in 2018.

Stuart, who runs a flock of 680 Suffolk Crosses and Mule Ewes, said: ‘The scheme was ideal for me and the farm as it was aimed specifically at new entrants. I contacted British Wool, described our new sheep enterprise and quickly realised this was something we should take advantage of.

‘Financial support is always important when you are just starting out and what attracted me was knowing we would get the return on our wool immediately.

‘Our first shearing here at the Cowhill Trust Estate was early in the season, during June. The sheep clipped well and the wool was sent to the British Wool depot in Galashiels.’

Stuart is encouraged by British Wool’s commitment to supporting the industry and his advice to other new entrants is to ‘grasp the opportunity’ as there is no cost to the producer.

Joe Farren, chief executive officer of British Wool, said: ‘Investing in the future of the industry is an essential part of our strategy and we want to play a key role in encouraging young farmers into the industry. The response last year demonstrated the demand from such a scheme with more than 500 producers benefiting, which represented more than 100,000kg of wool delivered. I urge anyone that is new to the industry to make contact so you can also benefit.

‘Through this initiative we hope to appeal to young farmers’ to market their wool through us, thus safeguarding the long term future of British Wool for the benefit of all our members. Eligible producers will be paid exactly the same prices as all other British Wool producers. This is purely an early years’ cash flow support scheme.’

British Wool works on behalf of producers to maximise the value of their wool, adding value through product marketing, new wool product development, working with manufacturing partners, auctions, wool grading and processing and a collection and drop service through a national depot network.

To be eligible for the scheme, a producer must not have previously been registered with British Wool and have kept sheep for fewer than five years.  Full details of the scheme and an application form are available from www.britishwool.org.uk

Application forms can also be requested by calling the Producer Services team on 01274 688666 or emailing newentrants@britishwool.org.uk