Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fine Animal Hair Dehairing Facility Slated to Open in U.S.

Every great journey begins with an idea! And, some journeys are destined to never end! Natural Fiber Producers cooperative, developed in 2007, was built on the foundation of profitability and sustainability for U.S. natural fiber producers. That founding idea became a unique cooperative model and provided the stepping-stone for a bigger idea. The Dehairing Project, NFP’s dream-turned journey, began early in 2014 and has reached a milestone this week.

Since its arrival in the U.S. in August, the machine has undergone the necessary reassembling transitions under the watchful eye of Gregorio Scarpini, the technician from Cormatex, the Italian manufacturer of this commercial dehairing machine. With assembly and installation near completion, the machine is about to start up and initial calibration and testing commence. The now almost 100 feet of equipment will soon face a most historical time frame. NFP’s Dehairing Project Manager, Carrie Hull, arrived in Kentucky this week, joining Gregorio and the crew of US Natural Fibers (operators of the machine), in perfect time to oversee the initial dehairing process. The first commercial batch of fiber, American Bison or Buffalo fiber from Buffalo Gold and Buffalo Wool Co. of Texas has already begun scouring (washing) at the US Natural Fiber facility in preparation for dehairing.

With the fiber and textile industry on the cusp of resurgence, exciting newsworthy events began to unfold this past week. A unique opportunity to participate in “Dehairing Fiber Trials” was presented by Hull to North American fiber producers. At least a dozen producers from Alaska to Maine and including Canada have shipped their precious fiber to Kentucky for inclusion in the trials. These fibers include Musk Ox (qiviut), Yak, Cashmere, Angora Goat (Mohair), Llama, Suri and Huacaya alpaca, and Angora rabbit.

The 2-day “Bison and Bourbon” Grand Opening event at the US Natural Fiber facility in Springfield, Kentucky began on Thursday, September 17 at 10:30 a.m. with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. The program included speakers from the Springfield community, the fiber industry, and Natural Fiber Producers as well as a media presentation of the Dehairing Project journey. Following the ceremony, light refreshments including a Popcorn Bar accompanied displays, fiber sorting & grading demonstrations, tours of the facility and vendor booths continued throughout the afternoon.

Natural Fiber Producers (NFP) is an agricultural cooperative, advancing the opportunity for sustainability and enhanced profitability for its fiber-producing owners. Founded in 2007, Natural Fiber Producers is proud to report that all their products are processed here in the U.S. from fiber grown in the U.S. and Canada. Products are marketed to members and retailers at wholesale cost with those profits being returned to the members. Member access to commercial processing through value added products provides profit margins between $14-61 per pound, and increases the volume of US-grown natural fibers entering the pipeline. In 2012, the organization opened its membership to include producers of llama, sheep, angora, cashmere, yak, buffalo, and qiviut. Now, the reintroduction of dehairing services to the US revitalizes the textile industry and builds momentum for Green and Natural Products.

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