Growing and processing organic and RWS certified wool in Patagonia
In the first episode of our new video documentary, we go on a journey with our Commercial and Sustainability Manager Willy Gallia to overlook the shearing on one of the Fuhrmann managed farms.
Farm manager Gabriel Parra of the Makenke farm explains to us that his job is to ensure the best animal welfare for his sheep while also protecting the land. This is done by checking the fields regularly to ensure that the ideal number of animals is grazing the fields which the land can sustain at any one point in time. Once the animals are moved the fields get a long resting period in order to keep the plants and soil in balance.
Gabriel tells us further that although sheep are a domesticated animal, they live freely on the farm. He and his team do everything to keep stress and noise levels to a minimum. This is done by bringing the sheep in for shearing and handling only a minimum number of times each year which is around every 3 to 4 months. To do so the team working on the farm are using horses and a low number of dogs to ensure a smooth transition from the pastures to the shearing sheds and back.
By talking to Gabriel, we can tell how much he cares about the sheep and the land he and his team are taking care of each day. He summarises his passion for his work by saying ‘Sheep are noble animals’.
On our journey to Makenke we also encounter wool shearer Abelino Martin Ayamilla. He has been shearing with Fuhrmann over the past six years. He explains that each year he and his colleagues receive a training to learn about the latest developments in shearing techniques and animal welfare. The shearing team see it as part of their job that everything is being done to ensure good animal welfare for the sheep.
This constant drive to improve the farm management, animal welfare and shearing practices is also the reason why all Fuhrmann farms have become RWS certified in 2018, explains farm manager Nicolás Napoli from a neighbouring Fuhrmann farm. Fuhrmann has a long term commitment and vision for working with the different farms in Patagonia. This vision includes applying the latest standards available. At first all farms went through the process of becoming GOTS certified. Once the Textile Exchange Responsible Wool Standard was launched, Fuhrmann farms collaborated with the organisation to ensure a successful implementation of the standard in Argentina as well.
Nicolás explains, that complying to the RWS standard means more training for the farm staff and shearers. It involves more time to prepare the shearing sheds and paddocks. For Nicolás all of this extra work is worth it to ensure a good life for the sheep based on the 5 freedoms.
In our next episode we will visit another Fuhrmann farm to learn more about a new and improved shearing comb.