Wool is one of the world’s most diverse natural fibers. It’s this diversity that has made the United States military the American wool industry’s No. 1 customer.
American Sheep Industry Association Deputy Director Rita Kourlis Samuelson says, “We’re trying to remind people why they use wool. It’s not your grandma’s wool sweater.”
With 18 different characteristics, wool plays an important role in today’s U.S. military.
“Wool is naturally fire resistant, which protects our soldiers when they are exposed to fire hazards. Wool is comfortable in that it breathes. I could go on and on, but there really are so many properties that make it comfortable for a soldier to wear,” says Samuelson.
This week, ASI’s Wool Council hosted a military wool tour in North Carolina and South Carolina with stops at Chargeurs Wool, Burlington Worldwide and Nester Hosiery (known for their all-American brand Farm to Feet).
“We had the wonderful opportunity to explain that we have a good supply of wool that is adequate to meet the military’s specifications,” said ASI Wool Council Chairman Ken Wixom of Idaho. “We have a lot of good, fine wool and we do a good job of producing it for them. This was the perfect way to show that to them first hand.”
Not only is the relationship between the U.S. military and American wool industry an exciting one, it’s also a very important one. And one that all stakeholders involved hope to keep going for years to come.
The United States military is the single largest consumer of American wool in the U.S. and consumes 15 to 20 percent of the annual American wool clip.