North Carolina Alpaca Growers
Alpaca growers are thriving in North Carolina and many farms raise alpacas in addition to other livestock. Alpacas are actually indigenous to South America and are a type of camelid. For thousands of years, alpacas have been raised by farmers in South America for the purposes of harvesting their soft fleece for making clothing.
Although alpacas are often confused with llamas, these fleece-covered animals are actually a lot smaller than llamas and their fleece is also considered to be of better quality. There are two types of alpacas, the Huacaya and the Suri. The Alpaca Registry, Inc. maintains the DNA registration database for alpacas in the United States.
Alpacas are sheared once per year in North Carolina, typically in the late spring. Many products are produced from alpaca fibers, including blankets, hats, gloves, scarves, ponchos, coats, bedding, sweaters and socks.
Despite being over 3,000 miles away from their native Peru, alpacas can thrive in North Carolina’s climate regions and there are plenty of farms in the area that have taken on the challenge of raising alpacas.
Here are a few of North Carolina’s top alpaca growers:
BelleauWood Farms Alpacas
BelleauWood Farms Alpacas is a family run farm located in Charlotte. Since 1996, the farm has provided breeding stock, fiber production stock, raw fleeces and alpaca fiber products. The farm is one of the largest in the United States with over 200 alpacas.
Apple Hill Farm
Apple Hill Farm is a unique mountaintop farm that is home to 9 kinds of animals, including alpacas. For more than 15 years, Lee Rankin has raised alpacas atop Valle Mountain. This farm receives visitors with farm tours offer year round.
Empty Pockets Alpaca Farm
Empty Pockets Alpaca Farm operates a mobile alpaca breeding service and farm store in Climax. Currently home to 54 alpacas, the farm produces a variety of products made from alpaca fleece.
If you are thinking about buying North Carolina rural land to start an alpaca farm, it is a good idea to review the industry’s top resources. Here are a few organizations that are especially for North Carolina alpaca growers:
The Alpaca Owners Association maintains a complete list of the AOA approved farms in North Carolina, which you can view at http://www.alpacainfo.com/find/farms.
Carolina Alpaca Breeders and Owners (CABO), is an organization that was created in 2004 to promote the commercial alpaca industry in the Carolinas. This site has a wealth of information available to assist those interested in alpaca breeding.
The Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair takes place annually in Fletcher, North Carolina and is the largest fiber fair in the south featuring a AOA approved alpaca spin-off competition and fleece sale.