BOZEMAN – To commemorate its centennial year, Montana State University Extension has created a 100 percent Montana wool scarf, made from wool produced by three Montana families with extensive MSU connections.
These limited-edition scarves cost $50 and are available for purchase on the MSU Extension website. Proceeds from each sale, about $5 per scarf, will benefit MSU’s newly resurrected wool judging team.
Through all of its 100 years, MSU Extension has partnered with Montana’s sheep growers on everything from settling open range disputes and surviving drought, to breeding for improved wool and meat traits, to weed grazing projects and making Montana wool more internationally competitive. This historical collaboration is the heart of the MSU Extension Centennial Scarf Project.
Randal and Amanda Tunby, John and Betty Sampsel and John and Karen Helle and their families provided wool for the project. All are graduates of MSU, and all have long connections to the College of Agriculture, Montana Agricultural Experiment Station, Montana Wool Lab and MSU Extension.
Because wool is normally sorted to identify specific grades and remove defects and then sent to large scouring facilities where it is combined with like wool, it is rare to follow a project like this from fleece to fabric, said Lisa Surber, research scientist in the Montana Wool Lab.
“We were extremely fortunate to have created a homegrown wool product processed, spun and handcrafted in the U.S.,” Surber added. “This is something all Montanans can be proud of. With its navy blue and yellow colors, this scarf is woven with the heritage of MSU Extension and the Montana sheep industry intertwined.”
A longer feature article about the MSU Extension Centennial Scarf Project is available on the MSU Extension website.