After its launch last spring, the American Wool Assurance (AWA) program is starting to make its mark on the domestic wool industry. Developed by the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) in response to customer demand, this voluntary program provides peace of mind that certified wool is being produced through a high level of sheep care and management.
More than 200 producers across the United States have joined the AWA program, while more than 65 have already reached Level I – Educated status. Many of them are making progress toward reaching Level II – Process Verified with the assistance of a pool of trained second-party evaluators. ASI has contracted with CloverLeaf Animal Welfare Systems to provide the necessary third-party audits that producers will have to undertake to reach Level III – Certified.
As wool growers work their way through the program, wool buyers and processors – particularly those in Europe – have expressed interest in purchasing AWA-certified wools – in some cases at a premium – to alleviate textile industry and consumer concerns about the process of harvesting the all-natural fiber.
To learn more about the program, go to https://www.americanwoolassurance.org/