Kangaroo Island in South Australia was our first 'regionally' branded DNA program. Around 20 woolgrowers, who were also members of the Kangaroo Island Wool group, joined AWN and DNA. By visiting the island, getting to know the growers and the environment in which they grow their wool we discovered the real reason why their wool was so special.
A selection of stories unique to Kangaroo Island were created to share with consumers via a QR code enabled swing tag on MerinoSnug garments.
In addition to the stories, participating growers would like to share with you (see below) their reasons for growing wool on Kangaroo Island, what drives them and what they would like to say to consumers who can now wear their wool.
Rodney & Judie Bell
Rodney and Judie Bell and their family grow 6000 Merino and Merino X sheep at Kingscote on Kangaroo Island just off the mainland of South Australia, below Adelaide. Kangaroo Island is known for its diverse wildlife and nature reserves, with kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and many bird species.
The Bell family have been farming at Kingscote 'forever' (to use their word) and still love the challenge.
"We love working in nature and with animals. You learn something every day. You might as well give up if you're not learning", they say.
The Bell farm is a family run business, with all their kids at home working on the farm and forming a big part of their successful business. Also part of the family are their Kelpie working dogs, an integral part of life on the sheep farm.
Terry & Ros Howard
Nathan, Terry and Ros Howard grow over 5000 Merino sheep on Kangaroo Island, just off the mainland of South Australia below Adelaide. The Howard family live in the town of Dudley and have been farming for over 43 years. Terry and Ross have been married for 40 years and have five sons, two work on the farm and are very involved and interested about taking over in the future when Terry wants to retire.
"We love working on the land, we have heaps of dogs! Four sheep dogs and two kelpie pups in training and Nathan has two great sheep dogs and pets. Fibre is fascinating, the range of use and versatility. Sheep are interesting and I enjoy working with sheep. The way Kangaroo Island wool has evolved has been extremely interesting and I find it challenging, exciting and great to be a part of. I hope it evolves over many years and we hope to benefit from it for our sons if they continue on with the farm. We would like them to be a part of Kangaroo island wool in the future."
Christine & Lloyd Berry
Christine and Lloyd Berry from the town of Macgillivray are founders to the DNA program. Their daughter Caitlin completed her degree in Animal Science and has moved back to Kangaroo Island to work on the farm.
"It completes the circle for us - we breed the lambs, care for them into adulthood, shear annually and sell our wool for processing into garments. To know people are wearing garments with our wool is the final piece of the puzzle!"
John & Jo Symons
John and Jo Symons grow 6000 Merinos at Parndana on Kangaroo Island. John began farming in 1961 and loves being in nature and enjoying life.
"Farming can be stressful at times but it really is only as stressful as you make it! It's great to see progress in the land and working with my dogs. There really is no drudgery in everyday work - nothing that I don't enjoy doing. It is important in life to enjoy what you're doing!", John says.
Q. What does it mean to you to know who is wearing your wool?
A. The DNA program is great. Our main aim is to grow wool that can go into good quality products and fits the appropriate market. It is important that buyers know and understand that the wool is grown in an ecological and sustainable way and meets animal welfare standards. We are always trying to improve genetics and the land. It is important that the land is left in a better condition than when we got it! When I got it - it was pretty much unproductive scrub back then. Using the DNA program we can communicate this to consumers.
Q. What would you like to say to the person wearing your wool?
A. Thank You!
September 01, 2018