KDA, state association celebrate Alpaca Fleece and Fiber Month; Burlington hosts events

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.

‘Baby’ Alpacas growing up on a Bowling Green farm (Photo provided)

“Alpacas provide a unique addition to Kentucky’s livestock communities,” Commissioner of Agriculture Jonathon Shell said. “This unique addition provides economic benefits to farms, including providing beautiful, soft, cashmere-like fleece for various products. This month, I encourage you to visit an alpaca farm to learn about their care and the wide array of products that can be made from their fleece.”

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 is a great place to raise alpacas for many reasons,” said Nancy Lindemood, president of the Kentucky Alpaca Association. “We appreciate the support from Kentucky’s agricultural programs, such as Kentucky Proud, KCARD and the Extension Services that provide helpful resources to new and established alpaca farms.”
The Kentucky Alpaca Association has members in 30 counties across the Commonwealth, but alpacas can be found in nearly all of Kentucky’s 120 counties. The Kentucky Alpaca Association members breed and sell alpacas, produce alpaca fiber and fiber products for sale on their farms and at local markets and offer various agritourism activities.
Last year, the association organized a fiber pool to collect alpaca fleece from member farms and produced the first ever alpaca socks from local fiber. Members also participate in youth events with 4-H programs in Warren and Jessamine counties. The association hosts several events each year to help promote member farms.
This month the Alpaca Owners Association (AOA) will host the National Fleece Show and a National Fleece and Fiber Conference July 12-14 at the Boone County Cooperative Extension in Burlington. 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 and hands-on workshops.

The National Fleece Show is the largest combined Huacaya and Suri fleece show in the world with four competitions and about 500 fleece entries.  
Other events taking place this month to celebrate Alpaca Fleece and Fiber Month include:
• July 16-17 – 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 26 – Aug. 4 – The Kentucky Fiber Trail is hosting the third annual Bluegrass Yarn and Fiber Crawl. This event promotes wool and natural fiber producers, retailers and artisans across the state. The crawl features retail and farm locations across the Bluegrass region with yarn and natural fiber products for sale including products made from Huacaya and Suri alpaca as well as products from sheep, goat and other natural fibers. The Kentucky Fiber Trail is a member of Kentucky Proud.

Kentucky Department of Agriculture

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