North American Linen Association aims to revive fiber flax agriculture

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2024-06-03 09:14:37 – USA

The North American Linen Association (NALA) is working to revive commercial fiber flax agriculture in the region. Flax fiber and linen are currently selling at record high prices, which is problematic for the market, according to Shannon Welsh, executive director of NALA. “There’s a lot of demand for it, but not enough fiber to meet that demand,” Welsh said.

A major reason for the price increase is the changing climate and the concentration of flax production in Europe. “Belgium, Netherlands, and France constitute a small area, leading to a limited fiber supply, driving prices up,” Welsh explained. “North America and other regions need to start growing flax to meet the demand.”

NALA's mission is to promote commercial fiber flax agriculture, develop bast fiber processing infrastructure, and enhance textile manufacturing. It brings together various stakeholders from the supply chain to collaborate on infrastructure development, networking, best practices, and marketing to advance the fiber flax to linen industry in North America.

Efforts in the U.S. are currently at a trial scale. “We lack access to fiber flax seed because we haven't grown this crop since WWII, but seed development has been ongoing for years, and we're starting to scale that up,” she said. Climate issues have also reduced global seed availability, making imports challenging.

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