Sheep breed societies and smallholders are increasingly looking to make better use of their own sheepskins by having the more characterful woolskins tanned.
When wool prices are so low that the wool cheque from the Wool Board doesn’t even cover the costs of shearing the sheep, having the skins back to at least offset some the stock rearing costs, make good sense.
A number of farmers Breeders and smallholders are actively looking into the possibility of setting up a communal micro tannery covering the more remote regions far away from the 4 remaining sheepskin tanners.
There has been a noticeable increase in enquiries about the possibility of RSA assistance in this enterprise.
We believe around 10,000 skins per year are being contract dressed (tanned) and we estimate the potential mini-market could be as high as 1 million p.a.
The position to date is that the RSA offers some useful advice about the selection, preservation and logistics of getting skins tanned, see our ‘library’.
We have written a training workshop “How to make Best Use of Your Sheepskins” and are planning to install this online, for groups investigating how to process, make and market their skins.
We are consulting with the Sheepskin Tanning sector, Leather technology training institutions/consultants, EU, DEFRA and others on how we can best help.
To discuss further, in confidence, please contact Peter Robinson, Hon. Sec. Real Sheepskin Association firstname.lastname@example.org.