Northern Black Hills Rotary will not meet at Lucky's 13 on May 10. Instead we will caravan to Belle Fourche to tour the Center of the Nation Wool Warehouse.


The Center of the Nation's role is to be a middleman between the ranchers who sell the wool, and the textile industry that buys it. CEO Larry Prager says, the "United States produces about 25 million pounds of wool a year. And through our doors we'll market between 4 and a half and 5 million pounds. So we're handling roughly 20 percent of the wool produced in the United States is local to this region."

That is a whole lot of wool. And this warehouse operates with just 6 employees. You won't see any sheep here, they're sheared at the producers ranches. What you will see is stack after stack of white nylon wrapped bales, each filled with the wool of 40-50 animals. Each bale weighs 400-500 pounds.

The warehouse is located at 820 8th Avenue, just south of downtown. Parking is available along 8th Avenue. Meet at the east end of the building.