Stoughton mink business saved
North American Fur Auctions (NAFA), a fur-grading business in Stoughton, has been given a new lease on life from a Finnish company, Saga Furs.
According to an article in the Wisconsin State Journal, NAFA, a 350-year-old Toronto, Canada-based company with offices in Stoughton, had its funding cut off by its primary creditor, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, in September. The company was forced to restructure just as the mink farmers were bringing in their harvest last fall.
Saga Furs is a publicly traded auction house from Finland that moved into the Stoughton space in November and has hired 40 people thus far.
NAFA’s processing facility was not part of the deal and remains vacant. Pelts collected from Canada and the Northwest are graded here before being sent to Helsinki and sold at auction.
Fur trading is one of Wisconsin’s oldest industries, but the number of mink farms has been declining statewide.
In Canada, however, fur trading remains big business, according to a recent CBC News report, and contributes about $1 billion to the Canadian economy.
In 2013, the Canadian fur trade employed about 60,000 people. Roughly half, or about 25,000, of Canadian fur trappers are indigenous people.
China, South Korea, and Russia purchase the most wild fur.