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Talk is sheep: Carpet men visit Phoenix pitching eco-sense of wool

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Convention Center is hosting a flooring show through Friday and wool producers from New Zealand are in the Valley to push their line of carpeting.

Howie Gardner with Just Shorn New Zealand said wool production has plummeted worldwide, and his home country is no exception.

"Through the winter we run about 11,000 sheep on 4,000 acres and 22,000 sheep in the summer. There were about 70 million sheep around the world in the 1970s and today that number is around 28 million."

Wool has fallen out of favor in the past few decades as people turn to synthetics, which are cheaper, but Gardner said, inferior to wool. He said there are signs woll is making a comeback.

"We're four years into the Just Shorn brand. Sales are increasing and we're happy with the progress. We're in Phoenix to develop more outlets for our line of carpeting."

David Fagan, also with Just Shorn, said sheep are the ultimate green animal.

"Wool is sustainable, renewable and the sheep keep growing it," he said. "It goes into clothes and carpet and is more environmentally friendly than synthetics. It's a safer product for children to be around in the home."

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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