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What will happen to our wonderful herds of alpacas in the next 10 years? Imagine with me for a moment what the alpaca industry might look like in 2024….
If we ask the man on the street in 2024 “What is an alpaca?”, we might get a variety of answers.
“Alpacas? Weren’t they like ostrichs? People used to pay ridiculous prices for them but the bubble burst. Now you don’t hear about them much anymore.”
“Alpacas? Yeah, they tried to make them into livestock. You know—sell the fleece to make money. But the recession of 2008 came before they got their act together. Some people tried to create a meat market, but it never caught on. I know people who still have a few in their back yards, but there isn’t much use for them. I haven’t seen one of those TV commercials in years!”
“Alpacas? Oh, they are so adorable, and their fleece is to die for! My whole winter wardrobe is alpaca, and it’s all made in the US. Cashmere and merino used to be the go-to natural fibers for cold weather, but now if it’s not at least 50% alpaca, I won’t buy it. It’s the only thing I can comfortably wear that lasts. I even have alpaca upholstery on my couch now—it’s beautiful and hardly shows wear, even after five years and three kids!”
Which scenario would you rather see?
I “see” a real future for the alpaca industry. And what do I want it to look like in the future?
Here are some of my answers. I would like to hear yours. It’s time to cast a new Vision…
- ‘alpaca’ to be a household word.
- more young families to catch the vision and join the alpaca movement.
- US grown and manufactured alpaca products to be common in upper end department stores.
- the value of an alpaca to be based on science and objective data, not just show ribbons.
- U.S. alpaca socks and long underwear to be the go-to choice for cold weather wear in sporting goods stores.
- alpacas to become a regular part of 4H and FFA.
- U.S. alpaca rugs, draperies and upholstery to be common in U.S. homes.
- sports fans to take alpaca stadium pads and lap blankets with them to outdoor games.
- U.S. grown and spun yarn in every privately own yarn shop.
- to drive across the U.S. and see large herds of alpacas grazing on open plains and filling valleys at the foot of the mountain ranges.
- the number of AOA registered alpacas to climb to over 2,000,000.
- standardized measurements for histograms and skin biopsies.
- sorting and grading become 2nd nature to breeders and growers—a standard skill in the pocket of every alpaca owner.
- us turning down offers from foreign entities to buy our fleece because we have a use for every scrap of fiber produced in the U.S.
What do you want to see happen in our Alpaca Industry?
Cindy Harris~ Alpacas at Windy Hill~ www.alpacalink.com~ (805) 907-5162~ firstname.lastname@example.org