Gateway Alpacas arrow Alpaca Industry
John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-551-7219 (cell)
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Alpaca Industry

Textile MillThe alpaca industry outside of their native South America is relatively new.

Ignored for many years after the Spanish conquest, in the mid-1800's alpacas spawned a new industry in England. Later Peru took back the bulk of the alpaca industry when it built new processing mills. Now both the United States and Australia are attempting to establish the alpaca as a primary agricultural industry.

There are signs that China is beginning to show interest in the potential of alpacas, and there are reports that they have not only been buying alpaca fiber on the global market, but are actively importing live animals into the country.

The United States has enjoyed a strong "breeders market" for the past twenty years, and much of the industry has revolved around establishing a National herd of sufficient numbers to support a more traditional livestock industry model.

In the United States there is a strong organization of regional associations supported by a national breed organization, and a state of the art, DNA based registry. Steps are being taken to establish a domestic alpaca fiber industry, including the creation a alpaca fiber producer's cooperative.

The history of the alpaca industry is as rich as it is long.

Even if the thousands of years of history predating the arrival of Europeans in South America are ignored, the path leads from the Andean highlands to Great Britain, Australia and the United States, and it takes us from indigenous peoples providing hand crafted goods to the halls of exclusive fashion houses in Europe and Asia.

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"The women had turned their black alpaca and cashmere skirts inside out, tucking the edgesabout their stout hips; beneath the wide vivid circles of the drippingumbrellas these brilliantly colored under-petticoats showed a liberal revelation of scarlet hose and thick ankles sunk in the freshlypolished black sabots..."

Anna Bowman Dodd
In and Out of Three Normady Inns
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