A program designed to promote the purchase of wool and mohair from producers on the Navajo Nation has returned to the reservation

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FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — A program designed to promote the purchase of wool and mohair from producers on the Navajo Nation has returned to the reservation, thanks to a project developed through a partnership between Black Mesa Water Coalition and Dine College’s Land Grant Office.

The wool and mohair buy by the Mid-States Wool Growers Cooperative Association made stops at Window Rock, Arizona, Dine College Center in Crownpoint and the Dine College’s north campus in Shiprock this week, The Daily Times reported .

The program’s Arizona stops included Tsaile, Kaibeto, Pinon, Tuba City and Dilkon.

The wool and mohair will be examined to determine their grade then weighed before the pricing is finalized, said Stanley Strode, wool manager for the association.

The price is also based on market value.

The cost for fine grade has increased this year, while coarse grade is experiencing a decline, Strode said, adding that buyers remain committed to offering producers fair pricing.

“We are here to buy wool for commercial industry,” he said.

The recent stops marked the Mid-States Wool Growers Cooperative Association’s seventh trip to the Navajo Nation.

The idea for the buy program was born when Roberto Nutlouis from the Black Mesa Water Coalition reached out to Strode about visiting the reservation to purchase wool directly from Navajo producers, Strode said.

The Black Mesa Water Coalition and the Dine College’s Land Grant Office worked to bring buyers from the Mid-States Wool Growers Cooperative Association and Peace Fleece to purchase wool and Teddy Varnell, a Chicago-based independent buyer, to purchase mohair.

The buy only took place in Pinon, Arizona, in its first year and has since expanded to nine communities.

In the first year, purchases only filled half a semi-trailer.

Last year, the products weighed approximately 143,000 pounds (64,864 kilograms) and filled seven semi-trailer trucks, Strode said.

“It works for us, and it works for them,” he said.

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Information from: The Daily Times, http://www.daily-times.com