Fast Growing Industry Brings Popular Show Back to Central Nebraska

By: Megan Johnson Email
By: Megan Johnson Email

Alpaca farms aren't the most common sight in Nebraska, but officials say alpacas are a growing industry here and across the northern half of the United States.

Alpaca farms from both coasts and everywhere in between have brought the best of their stock to Grand Island two years in a row.

"This is generally regarded as probably the most competitive alpaca show in the United States," says Tim Vincent, organizer and promoter of the 15th Futurity Show and Sale. "We've got most of the top farms, most of the top breeders in the country come here to compete."

Organizers say the Futurity Sale and Show is popular because placing means money in a breeder's pocket. Alpaca owners say their stock borders between being a pet and being livestock since they're raised only for their fiber or pleasure, not for meat.

"When they're out there in the show ring they're being judged on the quality of the alpaca's fiber as well as the general confirmation and appearance of the alpaca," Vincent says.

Alpaca breeders say they're obsessed with that end product, so the sale and show is an important one.

"It's beautiful the garments you'll find in the boutique fashion houses all around the world and garments that are worth two, three, four thousand dollars," says Alan Cousill, owner of Pucara International Alpaca Stud in Oregon. "This is from the elite fiber that we're growing on them right now."

"It's already being used in some of the very high end and expensive fashion wear, but [breeders are] trying to refine it even more," says Vincent.

Breeders hope more locals will come see their shows in the future, but say Grand Island has been a wonderful host. Cousill says large livestock producers can appreciate the alpaca.

"I come from a dairy farming background in Australia, love cattle, was raised in a dairy farm, and it's been a great transition to alpacas because you know you've got livestock knowledge, but you don't get kicked around so much," says Cousill.

Organizers say they're not sure where next year's show and sale will be, but they hope to return to Grand Island.

Alpaca breeders say they're obsessed with that end product, so the annual futurity sale and show is an important one.

"It's beautiful the garments you'll find in the boutique fashion houses all around the world and garments that are worth $2,000 to $4,000 and this is from the elite fiber that we're growing on them right now," said Alan Cousill, Pucara International Alpaca Owner.

"It's already being used in some of the very high end and expensive fashion wear, but they're trying to refine it even more," Vincent added.

Breeders hope more locals will come see their shows in the future.
Cousill says large livestock producers can appreciate the alpaca.

"I come from a dairy farming background in Australia, love cattle, was raised in a dairy farm, and it's been a great transition to alpacas because you know you've got livestock knowledge, but you don't get kicked around so much," Cousill said.

Organizers say they're not sure where next year's show and sale will be, but they hope to return to Grand Island.


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