Maryland Wool Pool Suspended for 2017
The Maryland Wool Pool, which has traditionally been held in mid-June at the State Fairgrounds in Timonium, will not take place this year. This suspension is a result of considerable discussion over the past year. Wool Pool Director, Emily Chamelin identified and shared a number of concerns over the past several years, and helped the Board to consider whether there may be better ways to help MSBA members connect with buyers for their wool.
From it’s heyday when over 100,000 pounds of wool were brought to the Maryland pool over 2 days, to more recent years when it has been less than 30,000 pounds, we’ve seen the demographics of wool production and sales in Maryland and the region evolve. The number of MSBA members who have taken advantage of the Wool Pool has decreased, the volume of wool has dropped, but the resources needed to conduct the Pool have not decreased. The availability of volunteers – including those who are qualified to run the wool presses – has waned significantly as well. For the last several years the majority of the volunteers have not been users of the Wool Pool.
Ms. Chamelin, who shears all over our region, and well beyond, made the decision to resign as Wool Pool Director and to become a buyer herself – on behalf of one of the large wool mill, Groenewald Wool and Fur Company, as well as other potential purchasers (see her article in the Spring 2017 issue of the Maryland Sheep News). She will be able to buy directly from shepherds on their farms, saving them the need to transport their wool on a set day to a Wool Pool. You can contact her directly at or 443-244-2702.
It is logical to conclude that this situation will further reduce 1) the volume of wool likely to be brought to the Maryland Wool Pool, and 2) the number of shepherds likely to participate (be served by the Wool Pool and/or have sufficient interest to volunteer).
The decision to suspend the Maryland Wool Pool for 2017 was made by the MSBA Directors, along with:
- An open invitation to any interested MSBA members to engage in a process to investigate the needs of our wool producing members in connecting with buyers for their wool, and consider the most appropriate role for MSBA on behalf of its members in this regard. If there is sufficient interest, a Task Force will be formed to develop recommendations to the Board of Directors.
- Providing MSBA members with information about the range of options – in the absence of the Maryland Wool Pool – available to them for connecting with buyers for their wool (see Emily Chamelin’s article in in the Spring 2017 issue of the Maryland Sheep News).