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Fiber World

Commercial Dehairing Is Coming Back To The United States

SANDPOINT, Idaho — August 4, 2014 — A new commercial "hybrid" dehairing machine owned by Natural Fiber Producers, a USA agricultural cooperative, will soon be operating at Mountain Meadow Wool in Buffalo, Wyoming.

In conjunction with Mountain Meadow Wool, USDA Rural Development, First Northern Bank of Wyoming, and Wyoming Small Business Development Center, Natural Fiber Producers (NFP) will provide commercial dehairing services for cashmere, alpaca, buffalo, yak, angora, and hair breed sheep. NFP's administrator, Robyn Kuhl, said, "This dehairer will outperform anything currently in North America. Giving a yield of up to 98% of the fine fiber content, as well as no damage to or shortening of fibers, high quality USA-sourced raw material of natural fibers will be accessible to domestic product manufacturers. Ours will be one of four of these machines in the world."

The percentage of residual coarse hair after treatment is not higher than 0.1-0.2%, as per international quality standards. "Commercial dehairing, which separates coarser fibers from the more 'skin-friendly' finer fibers, has not been available to US fiber producers since the last commercial dehairer was shipped off to China back in the early '80's," explained Kuhl.

To answer the consumer's growing demand for products Made in the USA, Natural Fiber Producers is looking to increase the availability of raw material produced domestically, resulting in more "Grown and Made in the USA" labeling. This will give USA farmers a more stable market for their product and supply USA textile mills and USA designers with a more reliable raw fiber resource.

According to Kuhl, Natural Fiber Producers was established in May 2007 as an agricultural cooperative focusing on natural fibers. Owner/members across the USA represent farms growing wool, alpaca, angora, and mohair. "Ownership of this dehairing machine by fiber producers is a step toward changing how we 'do agriculture' in the USA," she said. "Producers can add value to their fiber on a larger scale."

Natural Fiber Producers' decision to house the dehairer at Mountain Meadow Wool is based on multiple factors. Kuhl explained that while their current working relationship is important, an opportunity for companies to have one-stop production is key. Mountain Meadow Wool is a full service worsted spinning mill (yarn production of longer stapled fibers) which also offers state-of-the art scouring. Companies will have the option to go from raw fiber all the way to yarn at one location.

NFP’s overall goal is to increase sustainability for farms, increase the volume of US-grown raw fiber entering the production pipeline, and increase jobs not only on the farm but also in the production of finished goods Made in the USA.

NFP’s Commercial Dehairer will be very similar to this example:

Posted August 5, 2014

Source: Natural Fiber Products

 




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