Carl to serve a third term on British Wool board
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
A DALE farmer will serve a third and final term as northern region board member for British Wool.
Carl Stephenson, of Pikestone Farm, Woodland, was returned unopposed to the board following a call for nominations.
He was first appointed to the board in 2015 and will stand down after completing three three-year terms.
Previously the British Wool Marketing Board, the organisation is responsible for the collection, grading, packaging and selling of fleeces.
As with many areas of the Covid-hit economy, Mr Stephenson described the last year's trading as “dire” with demand for wool “falling off a cliff edge”.
“It’s a worldwide problem. The whole market is really depressed,” he said.
When the pandemic reached the UK early last year, British Wool was left with 11million kg of the previous year’s fleece after what would normally have been the busiest trading time of the year.
British Wool eventually managed to clear the unsold stock later in the year, but prices remained low.
Mr Stephenson explained the wool sector was badly affected by the crisis in the hospitality sector.”
“A lot of our wool goes for carpets in places like cruise ships, hotels, airports – any kind of hospitality. That's been knocked on the head completely,” he said.
“It’s difficult times for everybody. Hopefully things will get better. Wool is the ultimate renewable fibre – it’s there every year.”
Despite the current difficulties, Mr Stephenson said he had enjoyed his time on the British Wool board.
“It’s been a massive learning curve – and you are still learning all the time.”
As board member for the northern region, he covers a vast swathe of the country including Northumberland, County Durham, Cumbria, North Yorkshire, the West Riding of Yorkshire and Lancashire.
“It’s completely different to running your own farm business.
“At the wool board, you are working for other people. You have got to be ultra cautious and make sure you do everything right.
“But it is very interesting and you meet a lot of good people.”
Mr Stephenson’s final term on the board officially begins on April 1.