Farmers up and down the country have either just about finished or are in the middle of it – shearing sheep.

Every year our sheep will produce a new fleece and they will do so as long as there is grass for them to graze on, making wool an excellent renewable fibre source.

That is especially true if compared to synthetic fibres.

At the same time as producing wool, our sheep farmers actively work to safeguard the environment and improve efficiency in livestock production.

The strain on natural resources and reductions required in the use of fossil fuels means that we all have to look at our longer-term choices.

Let’s not forget that farmers feed the nation with sustainable and well cared for lamb and they take their responsibility to look after the environment seriously.

They share concerns about plastic in our oceans and soil, as well as pollution from fossil fuels.

One solution to the problem is wool produced by sheep here in Wales.

There are over 10 million sheep here, which means we have access to a great resource right on our doorstep. Wool from sheep is sustainable, renewable and durable. It is both flame and water resistant and can be made into carpets, bedding, fashion, insulation, textiles and craft items.

At the end of its useful life, wool can be returned to the soil. When it decomposes, it releases valuable nutrients into the ground and it only takes a very short time to break down.

That brings me to one final point, some of our wool producers are having a tough time in terms of the price they are receiving for their wool.

The pandemic has hit many businesses hard but I would like to assure members that we are doing everything we can to help and are holding meetings with the Welsh Government and relevant stakeholders to find a solution to the problem.