The Michigan textile industry is in tandem with US growth. In 2013, the US textile industry saw a 3% growth.
This percentage is expected to continue to increase in 2014. Overall, the textile industry is returning to the US from overseas for the same reasons that they left: cost of transportation and product turn-over times.
Consumer demands are also contributing to the establishment of US made products. In January 2013 a survey by the New York Times found that 68% of respondents preferred products made in the US and 63% believed that locally made products were of higher quality.
Currently Michigan lacks a collective source for our natural fiber. MFC seeks to create a 'fiber hub' which will support our local fiber producers while providing finished goods to consumers that are locally made and environmentally sustainable.
The MFC will also operate as a “fiber incubator” to encourage new farms and develop products made from the fiber. For the new farmer, there is an approximate $1,000-$10,000 investment to purchase a fiber flock.
The rural based members of our cooperative grow fiber animals bearing luxurious fleece like wool and alpaca. As the cooperative grows and demand for locally grown fiber grows, our members will see cash payments for their fiber. All this for as little as $150 to join and $30 each year in membership dues.
Fiber flock ownership will increase as farmers see a viable and sustainable end-product. Fiber production will increase as our membership expands and products bearing a “Michigan grown and made” logo are sold to consumers across the country.
MFC is the first fiber cooperative to embrace all natural fibers from alpaca to yak grown in our state.
A typical fiber cooperative is either a national organization supporting multiple fiber producers or a one that is fiber specific and state-wide. To date none is state-wide and all fiber encompassing providing yarns made from multiple types of fiber.
Our dream is to gather all the fiber stakeholders in Michigan and become a unified industry with a variety of value added products.
Source: Clifford, Stephanie. “Textile Plants Return, With Floors Largely Empty of People.” New York Times, 20 Sept. 2013.