Kentucky’s alpaca industry celebrated in July
Ag Commissioner names July Kentucky Alpaca Fleece and Fiber Month
FRANKFORT (July 5, 2023) – Kentucky alpaca farmers and the alpaca industry add an enriching diversity to Kentucky’s agricultural economy. This month, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky Alpaca Association celebrate Kentucky Alpaca Fleece and Fiber Month.
Alpacas add a uniqueness to Kentucky’s livestock communities,” Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles said. “In addition to the economical benefit they bring the farms that have added them to their numbers, alpacas produce beautiful, soft, cashmere-like fleece. This month, I encourage you to visit an alpaca farm to learn about alpacas and their care and about the many and diverse products that can be made from alpaca.”
Kentucky’s agricultural economy benefits from alpaca producers because of their focus on fiber and fiber products, agritourism, and breeding for livestock sales and seedstock. Kentucky has more than 200 mixed-livestock and family farms raising alpacas across the commonwealth.
Kentucky Alpaca Association has members in 28 counties across the commonwealth, but alpacas can be found in nearly all of Kentucky’s 120 counties. TheKentucky AlpacaAssociationmembers breed and sell alpacas, produce alpaca fiber and fiber products for sale on their farms and at local markets and offer various agritourism activities. In addition to agricultural pursuits, members participate in youth events with 4-H programs in Warren and Jessamine counties.
Next week, the Alpaca Owners Association (AOA) hosts the National Fleece Show and a National Fleece and Fiber Conference July 14-16 at the Boone County Cooperative Extension in Burlington, Kentucky. The AOA National Fleece and Fiber Conference brings together alpaca owners and fiber enthusiasts from across the country to learn, network, and skill-build. The three-day weekend consists of a variety of educational seminars from industry experts, discussion-based breakout sessions, hands-on workshops, and evening excursions.
The National Fleece show is the largest combined Huacaya and Suri fleece show in the world with four competitions and about 500 fleece entries.
AOA is the world's largest alpaca association with about 2,500 members and more than 275,000 alpacas in its registry database.The organization provides education to current and prospective alpaca owners throughout the world along with a national marketing program for alpacas and alpaca fiber products. AOA hosts three national events each year: The AOA National Halter Show, The National Education & Fiber Conference which includes the National Fleece Show and National Alpaca Farm Days. In addition, AOA supports 30 affiliate organizations including the Kentucky Alpaca Association.
Other events taking place this month to celebrate Alpaca Fleece and Fiber Month include:
-- July 18-19 -The All Suri Fleece show, hosted by The Suri Network, is at the Boone County Cooperative Extension office in Burlington, KY. This is the world's largest fleece show for the Suri alpaca breed with about 200 entries from across the U.S. The Suri Network is focused on the Suri alpaca breed.
-- July 28 – Aug. 6 - The Kentucky Fiber Trail is hosting the second annual Bluegrass Yarn and Fiber Crawl.This event promotes wool and natural fiber producers, retailers and artisans across the state.The crawl features more than 25retail and farm locations across the Bluegrass region with yarn and natural fiber products for sale including products made from HuacayaandSurialpaca as well as products from sheep, goat and other natural fibers.EightKentucky alpaca farms are participating in this event. The Kentucky Fiber Trail is a member of Kentucky Proud.