The case for diversity:
In historical terms, New Zealand is a country that has done very well riding on the sheep’s back. New Zealand farmers are highly regarded for producing some of the world’s best wool. New Zealand is famous for its high quality merino wool (Icebreaker, Untouched World) and is the largest producer and exporter of cross bred wool in the world. Think heavy felted coats and luxurious carpets.
There is no doubt that changes in consumer behaviour drive new trends and create changes in markets and demand over time. For example, many consumers in key cross bred wool markets like China have moved towards a preference for finer, lighter and better quality cloth as their incomes have risen. In many ways, this makes the case for diversity on farm. As old markets are disrupted and wait for renewal, new markets emerge and thrive. This is the dynamic nature of meeting consumer needs, facing competition and staying innovative. No industry is exempt from this phenomenon.
Embracing diversity is a tried and true strategy for dealing with volatile commodity markets, which is where most farming operations generate their income. The old adage of not putting all your eggs in one basket is arguably more relevant today than ever. New Zealand Cashmere’s business model integrates their goat herd into a high intensity beef and sheep finishing business, which helps to produce increased revenue on farm and improve financial resilience.