Tasmanian woolgrowers are being encouraged to get involved in The Schneider Group’s new quality assurance program, Authentico.
The program ensures a transparent supply chain from the farm gate to the delivery of wool tops, rewarding woolgrowers that grow their product in a sustainable, environmentally friendly manner, with high attention to animal welfare.
And according to G Schneider Australia managing director Tim Marwedel, it’s about more than just mulesing.
“Growers do all sorts of wonderful things on-farm for animal welfare, drenching, windbreaks, shearing at certain times, and it’s about telling that story,” Mr Marwedel said.
“They don’t have to be non-mulesed, but we do request that they use a pre-operative pain relief.”
He said Tasmanian woolgrowers had a particularly strong provenance story to tell.
“Tasmanian wool has its own story because it’s an island state,” he said.
“They all know each other and share their genetics, and work very well together to benefit the whole sector, so we really want to acknowledge what they’re doing.”
He said it was a priority to ensure the program wasn’t a burden to farmers, but instead a simple process to highlight what woolgrowers were already doing.
“We’re excited about it and trying to build it slowly, and hopefully we get more demand for it,” he said.
Roberts Tasmania wool manager Stewart Raine has been working with local clients interested in the scheme, and said it was proof consumers had become more concerned about where their products come from.
“It’s a program that addresses all the big issues that currently face the industry, and shows that Schneider’s client base is telling them that they want to know where the fibre they’re wearing was grown, and whether it was grown in a sustainable fashion, and that the welfare of the sheep was the utmost priority,” Mr Raine said.
He said the uptake so far had been pleasing.
“There’s no extra work or effort required because they’re already operating at those high levels,” he said.
“It’s quite an easy program to be a part of, you just have to apply online.”