2022/2023 Alpaca Owners Guide

 A Healthy Long-Term Outlook As with any commodity, market forces of supply and demand affect the value of the commodity. This is particularly true when it comes to livestock. The key question is whether there is a demand for the end product: fiber, meat, and hides. If not, are there re alistic expectations a demand can be created and sustained? What happens if the supply significantly outstrips the demand? For the alpaca owner, demand for the animals continues to be very strong, with estimated annual commerce in the hundreds of millions of dollars. With just over 270,000 registered alpacas in North America (and with a roughly 45/55 ratio of males to females), these animals are relatively rare when compared with the numbers of other types of livestock. With the closure of both the Canadian and AOA registries, the addition of new animals by importation from other countries was shut down in North America. With the long gestation period (11 – 12 months) and single births, the growth of North American alpaca herds will be relatively slow. Thanks to well-targeted national, regional, and local marketing programs, livestock sales among existing and new buyers should remain strong and stable for a very long time to come. Meanwhile, consumer awareness of alpaca end-products is rising significantly. As awareness and demand increase, so, too, will the need for quantities of alpaca fiber increase. In summary, the future of alpacas —both as livestock and also for the products made from their fleece—is very promising, and adds to the attraction of being involved with this industry. 

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