U.S. Mink Farming Industry
In common with the fur industry as a whole, the marketing of mink pelts is an international affair. Working on behalf of American farmers, trade missions promote our product in all the main buying markets, from Europe to the Far East, and through representation at the major international fur fairs in Paris, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Montreal and New York.
Also closely involved in the marketing of American mink are the world’s major auction houses, the U.S.-based American Mink Exchange, SAGA in Finland and Kopenhagen Fur in Denmark. Buyers come from around the world, and the auction houses play a key role both in attracting overseas buyers and in ensuring the pelts are presented correctly and in the most attractive manner possible.
The wide variety of climatic conditions and available feed across the U.S. result in considerable variations in fur characteristics. But manufacturers of fur garments require large numbers, or “bundles”, of similar pelts in order to produce uniform garments. In order to facilitate the work of the buyers, auction houses encourage farmers to pool their pelts, so that similar goods can be presented in longer “strings”.
Along with farmed product, some auction houses also sell the pelts of wild animals caught by professional trappers, including muskrat, raccoon, beaver and even grizzly bear.
(1) USDA reports are for the previous year’s production. Thus, the 2010 report covers the 2009 crop, etc. Also note that totals are often revised in the subsequent year’s report. Thus, for example, the 2000 report presents a preliminary estimate of the 1999 crop, which then becomes an official estimate in the 2001 report.
∗ Due to sequestration, the mink report covering the 2012 crop was suspended.
NASS no longer reveals number of farms to protect the identities of individual farmers.