Q. Is sorting and grading fiber mandatory for submission of fiber to NFP?
A. Yes. Our fiber co-op model is based on producing a product that is of the highest quality — long lasting and comfortable to wear. The best yarns and resulting fabrics are made with fibers that are uniform in length and fineness, with a minimum of stronger primary fibers. Using the Certified Sorted® System significantly improves the quality of the final product.
Q. Will NFP sort and grade my fiber for me?
A. No. Fiber cannot be sent to NFP unless it is Certified Sorted®. It is to your advantage to have your fiber sorted regardless of how your fiber is processed. Certified Sorting provides the farm with invaluable information as to the quality and grade of the fiber you are producing. It allows you to maximize the best use for the volume of fiber you are producing and can help you make informed breeding decisions. Fiber not meeting standards for co-op production is left with the farm to make into products on their own. Sorted fiber will also improve the quality of finished products should you send fiber to a cottage mill for personal production.
Q. How can I get my fiber Certified Sorted®?
A. There are 2 options for having your fiber sorted:
- Certified Sorters and/or apprentices (under the guidance of a Certified Sorter®) can sort your fiber for a fee. The sort record for each animal provides invaluable information on the fiber each animal is producing. They are independent contractors who have been trained by Certified Sorted® Systems to sort fiber to exacting standards. Contact the SGC (Sorting, Grading, Classing) office at firstname.lastname@example.org for a list of Certified Sorters in your region.
- Regional Sorts are hosted 3 or 4 times per year in a variety of locations across the US. You may bring your fiber and have the blanket and neck fiber sorted for a fee. Check with email@example.com for the next Regional Sort.
Q. Do ALL natural fibers submitted by members go through a sorting and grading system before product is made?
A. Yes, unless you have a specialty fiber like buffalo. NFP co-op members must submit fiber that has been Certified Sorted®. In general, most natural fibers such as llama, buffalo, cashmere, yak, angora and mohair require dehairing prior to processing. NFP operates its own dehairing machine and provides dehairing services for most natural fiber producers.
Q. When I submit my fiber how long will it take for my product to be sent back to my farm?
A. At a minimum, plan on 12 to 18 months. Several vendors handle different stages of production and time frames vary. Having all invoices paid by farms in full helps to keep the production runs on time. Commercial processing typically requires 1000 lbs. of any grade to begin production. Your fiber may be held much longer until there is sufficient quantity to begin production. For example, if your fiber is suitable for socks but your fiber comes in just after a sock run was put into the production pipeline (which may take a min. of 12-18 months), it will stay at the RCF until there is sufficient fiber and product demand to do the next sock production run.
Q. How long does it take for my fiber to be placed in the wholesale pool?
A. At a minimum, plan on 12 to 18 months. Same reasons as to quantity and production schedules as above. It is very important for farms to promptly return their Production Distribution Guide to the office so the distribution manager can ship product to farm or wholesale pool as soon as received. (formerly called Product Selection Guide)
Q. Do I have a choice of quantity of product returned to farm?
A. Your Product Distribution Guide tells NFP how much of your product you want returned to your farm and how much, if any, you want put into the wholesale pool. (formerly called Product Selection Guide)
Q. When my product sells in the wholesale pool, when can I expect payment?
A. First in, first out. The timeliness of your payment from sales in wholesale pool are partially dependent on how you have handled payment for the stages of processing. The FIRST members who pay their processing invoices are the FIRST members who will receive payment for wholesale pool sales. If processing invoices, including shipping costs, are not paid within 90 days of the product arriving at the distribution center, the member’s ownership of the product will be forfeited and the product and proceeds from sale of that product will be owned by NFP. It is the intent of NFP to make payments quarterly for product sold on members’ behalf.
Q. How can I track my submitted fiber?
A. Updates on production runs are sent via email newsletter. Updates are available in the Member section of the website. It is the member’s responsibility to track their fiber from submission to end product. NFP provides a Fiber Tracker Form on the website. Members can use the Fiber Tracker Form in conjunction with their processing invoices to follow the progress of each production run by each Pick Ticket #.
Q. How many invoices will I receive during production and before product is sent to me or wholesale pool?
A. The number of invoices will depend upon how many stages there are in production. For example, yarn may only have 2, but with more processing (knitting, weaving, etc.) there will be more invoices.
Q. How can I pay my invoices?
A. Payment is accepted through electronic transfer by your bank, personal check, the Intuit Payment Network link, PayPal and credit card.
Q. What happens if I don’t pay my invoices promptly?
A. Payment is due upon receipt. Unpaid invoices often delay production, make it difficult for the co-op to pay processors and hurt other members in the same run. Potentially, you might forfeit ownership of your fiber in that production run by not paying invoices. If you need to make installment payments, contact the office promptly to discuss possible arrangements. firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. What can I expect to earn per pound of raw fiber submitted?
A. We strive to reach an AVERAGE wholesale profit/lb of $25 across all grades and products. Our 2011 yarns averaged $19.47 wholesale profit/lb. Our 2013 yarns came in at $28.05. Finished goods, such as duvets, hats, and gloves, generally offer higher margins than cone or skein yarn.
Q. What is NFP doing to help sell product that is in the wholesale pool?
A. The NFP marketing committee has a selection of products for sale on Amazon.com and are exploring the sale of NFP products through Ravelry and Etsy. Products are also for sale on the NFP site to members, wholesale accounts, and retail customers. Amazon sales are doing well and the committee is working to expand our wholesale customer base to include more farms, knit shops and retailers.
Q, Is SGC (Sorting, Grading, Classing) part of Natural Fiber Producers co-operative (NFP)?
A. No. SGC is a private company and functions independently of NFP, a member-owned fiber co-operative. But, they work hand-in-hand to achieve the same goals: quality end-products and maximized profits for fiber producers. Each organization has a different role, a different perspective, and a different responsibility. For more specific information, please read the article “NFP and SGC: So What’s the Difference?” on the Members Only page of the website.
Q. What are the major differences between NFP and NEAFP?
A. NFP is a member owned fiber co-operative. It provides members a conduit to submit their fiber – even in relatively small amounts – into a variety of commercial fiber production pipelines. The finished product is either returned to them or sold on their behalf. The wholesale price is returned to the farm minus a 15% commission to cover costs of managing the wholesale pool. (Note: industry standard commission is 30%). NFP members own their fiber through the pipeline and pay their share of actual production costs.
NEAFP is a privately owned and operated business. Any profits are returned to NEAFP’s owners. Farms may pay wholesale prices for finished products that NEAFP produces, with a slight reduction in cost if the farm has submitted fiber to the NEAFP fiber ‘bank’.
We recommend you examine the differences between the two models and come to your own conclusions.
If you have more questions, please contact the office at email@example.com