Larry Prager of Center of the Nation Wool Warehouse spoke at our Chamber Luncheon on Wednesday, March 8. Luncheon goers learned many interesting facts about wool production and processing in the Belle Fourche area.
Belle Fourche wool is consistently ranked highest in quality, competing with wools from across the globe. Two major factors in producing top quality wool are genetics and environment. Because sheep have been raised in this area for generations, ranchers have selected for the best quality genetics for this area. The range environment and heavy clay in the soil is good for wool production.
Wool fiber is rated in microns. Finer wool fiber is higher in value. 30 microns is a rough fibre, while most Belle Fourche wool comes in at 22-20 microns in diameter and so is much softer and preferred for its strength and softness.
• 50% of the wool used to make U.S. military dress uniforms is grown in the region
• In China, “Belle Fourche” is known as the best wool the USA has to offer
• Center of the Nation Wool is the largest wool warehouse in country, and serves South Dakota, Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, and has even received a small shipment from Hawaii.
• Center of the Nation Wool handles between 4.5-5 million pounds of wool annually, with sales of $8-$12 million dollars depending on the year
As the Chamber prepares to launch the 2017 campaign, ‘We Produce’, future Chamber Luncheons and events will have more speakers along the lines of Pager who are producers in agriculture, manufacturing, and business in Belle Fourche.