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Abstract

Wool and mohair have been declining industries. Sheep inventories are a fifth of their World War II level; goat numbers are a third of their mid-1960’s level. Economic recession and ample global supplies of wool and mohair lowered prices of these fibers and reduced net returns of farmers in the early 1980’s. Government payments to wool producers were record high in 1983. Policymakers have had limited control over wool program costs given the formula-based Government support price, the trend of declining textile market share, rising raw wool and wool textile imports, stagnant lamb and mutton consumption, and the dominance of Australia and New Zealand in the world wool market. Issues for 1985 include whether to continue the program, and if so, the level and method of adjusting support prices.

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