Did you know?

  • Sheep were domesticated about 10,000 years ago.

  • Man learned to spin wool somewhere around 3500 B.C.

  • Wool was one of the first products to be traded internationally.  

  • Wool was a factor in the American Revolution: England decreed that American colonists who raised sheep and produced wool were criminals.  Americans passed a law that young people had to learn to spin and weave wool.

  • Today, wool is used in protective gear (military, firefighters), active wear, bedding, insulation, clothing, upholstery, carpets, strawberry production and more.

Here are a few of the most common wooly questions we hear:

How do I get a shearer for my sheep?

One of the most popular membership benefits is access to a skilled shearer. We work closely with a couple of experienced and reputable shearers to provide shearing services across the state in the spring.  

Shearing surveys go out to current members via Facebook, website, email and postal mail, usually in February. The purpose of the survey is to collect information about the number, breed and location of sheep, plus additional contact info. The survey also provides information to help the shepherd prepare for shearing.

A Board Member (currently Dr. Tom Huber) organizes the survey responses and helps coordinate the shearers’ schedule, based on availability, weather, workload and location. This can be a challenging process:  during a warm spring, everyone is anxious to get their sheep sheared NOW. Add in a few storms to slow things down, a couple of farms who did not pen their sheep prior to the shearer’s arrival, an unexpected road detour, and the logistics of geography – the shearers are not going to travel from the coast to the mountains to middle Georgia in one week – and you can see why the coordination is a complex choreography! Once a rough schedule is worked out, Dr. Huber calls the farms to confirm schedule dates and times.

Fortunately, we have highly skilled shearers who are respectful of the sheep and the wool. The cost of shearing is determined each year by the shearers and is based on a travel / set-up fee, plus x$ per sheep. Each farm pays the shearers directly.

Dr. Huber can answer your questions about estimated time, costs, preparation, bagging the fleece and purchasing wool bags.

How do I sell my wool?  and  What’s a wool pool?

The two most common ways to sell wool in Georgia are through wool pools (individual farms combine their wool with other producers and sell to a third party) or through direct marketing (individuals sell their raw or improved wool directly to customers). Here are two links with helpful information:

International Wool Brochure

Sheep 101.info Wool Marketing

What does ‘skirting’ mean?

To skirt a fleece is to cut away undesirable parts of the fleece: tags, stained wool, sweat locks, etc. In addition to the links above, check out:

Fleece diagrams:

Fleece Segments


Cost implications of skirting:

Skirting Your Fleeces

Video demonstrations:

How to Skirt a Wool Fleece

Skirting a Fleece

I have hair sheep and wool sheep. Why does everyone keep telling me to watch out for “hair contamination”?

Quite simply, hair is not wool. It does not dye like wool, it does not spin or blend like wool, and the presence of hair in a BALE of wool (110+ pounds of wool) can result in the entire bale being discarded. If the bale is from a wool pool, multiple farmers can suffer the financial loss caused by one person’s ignorance or carelessness.

Keep in mind that hair is not the only contaminant. This link provides helpful information.  

Wool Contamination .pdf

Marketing Wool

Wool marketing can be broadly classified into two methods: commodity and direct (or niche).


Wool Show

The Gwinnett County Fair takes place each September. It draws thousands of people from the metro area.  Two highlights of the fair are the Open Class Sheep Show and the Wool Show.


Made With Wool

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"Georgia Sheep and Wool Growers Association" is a 521(a) Farmers Cooperative.
P.O. Box 80632, Athens, GA 30601

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