Raisers of sheep and goats in Texas know all about the warehouse. It's where you send your sheared fleeces in the spring for sheep and in the spring and fall for goats. According to the Mohair Counsel of America, whose home is in San Angelo, TX, 90% of the mohair produced in the USA is grown in Texas. There used to be hundreds of thousands of goats in west Texas, more than anywhere else in the world. Back about 20 years ago, the tax supports for the wool/mohair industry were changed so its not quite as profitable as it used to be and there aren't quite as many goats out there as there used to be, but it's still a very large number. When I checked the Mohair Counsel of America website, it turns out there are 16 warehouses in west Texas. Wow.
My wonderful goat shearer, Stephen Franco, lives in Rocksprings, TX and got me started dealing with the warehouse. The Priour-Varga Wool & Mohair Warehouse, Inc. is just down the street from him so he was able to explain the system to me. You drop your fleeces off at the warehouse and they grade the fiber. This is a process that doesn't take any time at all but it can take months of waiting in line for your fleeces to pop up to the top of the pile to be graded. The warehouse sends me a bill for the grading. Once I pay that bill, they send me a check for the value of my fleeces. You could drop off your fleeces and not pay to have them graded but then you get the minimum fee for your fleeces rather than the going rate for each grade. OK. This sounds like a plan to me. I have a huge backlog of fleeces that need to be picked and sorted and sent off to be processed. Since I'm not making much headway on that backlog, sending the fleeces off dirty and without any further work from me has a real appeal.
The warehouses have a strong market for white mohair but no market at all for colored mohair. I have warm golden brown and silver grey fleeces which I didn't send along. Those I will process or send them out to be processed somewhere else and have them blended with wool for spinning fiber that we will sell.
Last August Stephen took over 40 pounds of raw white mohair from me and delivered it to the Priour-Varga Warehouse. I got a bill from the warehouse in December for $7.34 for the grading of my fiber. I sent them a check for that amount and at the end of February I received.....
a check in the amount of $210.32!
I talked to the warehouse this morning to clarify the documentation that came with my check. They have four basic categories of mohair each of which is worth a specific amount. In decreasing value they are 1. Kid mohair, 2. Young adult mohair, 3. Adult mohair and 4. Other. "Other" includes the odd bits from each fleece that are stained or otherwise of far less value. There are variations at each level that are taken into account, like fine adult which is nicer than just adult or extra fine kid which is nicer than just fine kid.
For my 40 pounds of fleece I was paid $2.50/ pound for the worst stuff, $3.70/pound for the Adult mohair, $5.20/pound for the Fine Adult mohair and $7.30/pound for Young Goat mohair. If I had sent them any kid mohair they would have paid more than $8.00/ pound for it. This is much lower than what I would sell the mohair for in our booth or through our website but it requires no additional work from me. For mohair to go on the website it would need to be washed and dyed or carded or blended with wool. All those tasks take time and add value to the product thereby increasing it's value and it's price tag. This does let me know what my raw mohair is worth and will strongly influence the price I put on raw fleeces in the future.