Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

N.M. wool industry in distress.

Byline: Bill Papich For the Journal

* Synthetics and glut of Australian fleeces have wounded the market

WATERFLOW Navajo Indian sheep rancher Rozita Jake isn't selling her wool anymore. She is bagging it in burlap to stow away in her garage because "there's no market."

Watching over 80 sheep she keeps on her property bordering the Navajo Reservation, Jake, like her fellow sheep herders across the country, is struggling to deal with a huge glut of Australian wool and clothing trends moving away from wool.

She said some Navajo sheep herders are selling their wool to a Gallup wool buyer for as little as 6 cents a pound. In 1980 they received 70 cents to 80 cents a pound through a now defunct tribal marketing enterprise.

"People don't buy wool like they used to," Jake said.

More evidence of the current miserable market can be seen in the huge stockpile of wool D. …

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