The Montana Wool Growers Association held their annual Convention in Billings in early December, at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center. A highlight of the event was 2021 MWGA President, Ken McKamey, presenting a check for $100,000.00 to Montana State University President, Waded Cruzado, for the Montana Wool Lab Building project.
The origin of the donated funds came from the Montana Wool Growers Education and Research Endowment. Commonly called the “Memorial Fund”, most of the money in the fund came from donations in memory of sheep industry leaders. These memorial donations have been growing in this fund, with hopes of spending the funds on sheep industry improvements and research. MWGA would like to thank all the donors over the past 4 decades that have contributed to this fund.
The 2021 MT Legislature approved five million dollars for the Wool Lab project, with an additional one million to be raised from industry. This donation goes towards meeting the one million dollar fundraising goal.
The current Montana Wool Lab is currently located on the North end of MSU Bozeman’s campus in a building built in 1947. The Montana Wool lab serves sheep producers, researchers, and the wool industry in Montana and across the US, by analyzing wool samples. The current lab runs nearly 15,000 wool samples per year, providing data on wool quality. The results from the lab testing allow ranchers and researchers to make informed decisions within their flocks to improve wool quality through management and genetics.
MWGA would like to extend gratitude to President Cruzado and her team for their tireless work on the wool lab project.