We are happy to announce we've made some improvements on how the shopping cart handles products at the fiber price point. All of our products listed in the fiber pricing category now have their Fiber Grade and Weight requirement listed prominently along side their $ cost.
As these products are added to your shopping cart, the fiber requirement for each product along with the total fiber requirement for your order in progress will automatically be tallied and displayed on the cart page.
The days of manually tallying your order's fiber requirement are over!
After your order is placed, the fiber requirement for each item as well as the total fiber weight and grade requirements will be listed on your invoice.
Updated Fiber Pricing Product Listing
Fiber Grade and Weight Requirement - View Cart Page
Per Product and Total Per Order
Is it a glove? Is it a mitten? It’s the best of both worlds! Our Alpaca Glittens offer the warmth of a mitten and the dexterity of Gloves, making them a perfect fit for hunting or any activity where you need quick access to your fingers. The mitt flap pulls back and attaches with a secure button, giving you digits free roam.
Harnessing the natural characteristics of U.S. Grown Alpaca fiber, our Glittens will keep you warm without the bulk, and are designed to hold up on any wilderness bound adventure. Alpaca fiber is also naturally moisture wicking, breathable, and retains heat in both dry and wet conditions - making it a great insulator.
If the Fall and Winter weather tends to throw you for a loop like it does here in New England, then rest assured, our Alpaca Glittens allow full warmth and coverage, and the ability to stretch your fingers when it’s time to get to work.
Explore more with the help of our Alpaca Glittens.
Made in Adult Sizes: Small, Medium, and Large
Made in Fawn & Brown
Our Herringbone Scarves in Grey are back in stock and on the website!
#Hashtags can be used to complement photos shared on Instagram (and other Social Media platforms!) and help you discover new accounts and pick up followers. Some hashtags were created specifically for Instagram photo challenges — #ThrowbackThursday, for example, encourages users to post retro photos. By searching the hashtag on Instragram, you can pull up a gallery of everyone who has used it on a recent post.
When making a post to your Instagram's account, by adding related hashtags, you are giving a way for people interested in those topics / tags to find your photos and ultimately your business and farm. All things Alpacas are seriously trending right now, and there are thousands of alpaca enthusiasts who are searching Instragram daily for all photos posted with alpaca related hash tags. In order to expand your reach and increase your business's following, it's important to not only use alpaca related hashtags but other fiber, yarn, and textile tags as well.
By choosing 4 to 5 alpaca and alpaca related hashtags with each photo you post, you will slowly but surely increase your following as more like minded people interested in alpacas find your profile and follow your posts.
Listed below are some of our personal favorite alpaca related hash tags that we use regularly on our posts. Take a look and search a few on Instagram to find the ones that click with you and your business!
P.S. Get Creative! - #hashtags can be a fun way of posting indirectly related info to your photos! You can also even create your own hashtags for your farm and business and share them with your audience!
Other Hash Tags
We are excited to announce our annual Summer Stock Up Sale is officially live! We are offering Free Shipping on
large orders as well as offering select discounts on a handful of our newest products!
Our Summer Stock Up Sale will run until the end of August so now is the time
to get stocked up for the quickly approaching Fall Season!
Sale Ends August 31st, 2017
This new sock, The Outdoorsman Alpaca Sock, is a heavyweight boot sock. It has all the great features of our Survival Sock (Machine Wash and Dry, Ankle and Arch Support, Full Terry Loop Cushion matched with a reinforced nylon exoskeleton), but is 20% heavier for increased warmth & comfort. The Outdoorsman Alpaca Sock is also a boot length sock, fitting perfectly in between our crew height Survival Sock and our Over the Calf height High Calf.
With the news that AFCNA was closing their doors, we knew that it was important to keep the fiber they’ve collected and remaining Extreme sock yarn in production domestically to the benefit of U.S. alpaca farms. We’ve purchased all of AFCNA’s EXTREME Sock yarn and are using it to produce our new Outdoorsman Sock. We know farms across the country have done very well building a market for the heavy weight Extreme Sock. Our new Outdoorsman Alpaca Sock takes the best features of the Extreme, is made from the same yarn, and adds improved features to make it better than ever.
Our Outdoorsman Alpaca Sock is a heavyweight boot height sock designed to be the warmest, softest, most comfortable alpaca sock Made in the USA. For increased cushion and comfort, the interior contains a full alpaca terry loop knit. The inside of the sock has arch and ankle supports, ensuring a proper, snug fit each time they are worn. Outside, the Outdoorsman Sock sports a rugged nylon exoskeleton with reinforcement on the toe, arch, and heel areas – making it as durable as it is warm and comfortable.
The combination of the soft, warming alpaca terry loops against your skin with the reinforced exterior make a sock tough enough to stand up to whatever the great outdoors throws at it. Whether fishing, hiking, camping, lumberjacking, or just flat out enjoying Mother Nature, the Outdoorsman Alpaca Sock will keep you warm & cozy for as long as you need them to, no matter the conditions.
On top of being one of the softest, strongest, most insulating natural fibers available, Alpaca is moisture wicking, hypo-allergenic, and odor resistant - making it a perfect all natural fiber for socks destined to explore the great outdoors.
Contents: 75% U.S. Alpaca, 23% Nylon, 2% Lycra
Care Instructions: Machine Wash and Dry, See Label
We are very excited to announce our Convertible Alpaca Shawl.
Our brand new Convertible Shawl showcases a classic yet timeless cable knit, and adds a contemporary functional twist, all while utilizing soft alpaca fiber. You can mold this piece according to the weather, the occasion, or perhaps your mood, as you have the option to wear it as a classic shawl, a poncho, a scarf, or our new favorite, a “shnood.” Its versatility helps make this shawl the ultimate addition to any ensemble, whether you are going out for coffee, a work conference, or a holiday party. Acting as both apparel and an accessory, this will certainly be a go-to option for any occasion, while keeping you warm and snug. We have colors for all personalities and occasions—Stone Grey, Scarlet Red, Dark Teal, Caribbean Blue and Purple Haze.
We will be closed Friday June 30th and re-opening Monday July 10th, 2017.
All orders and support that come in during this period will begin shipping out again on Monday July 10th in the order they were received.
Thank you and we hope you all have a fun, relaxing holiday!
Photo by Dave Cleaveland - Maine Aerial Photography
For people who are familiar with our home, Fall River, Massachusetts, they probably know that it gets a bad rap—many would most likely never think of this city as a destination. We are here in efforts to change that mindset and prove that Fall River is a true diamond in the rough—not to mention incredibly rich in textile history. About a century ago, Fall River was one of the wealthiest cities in the entire country, due to it being considered the textile capital of the world. Fall River is lovingly referred to as the “ Spindle City” due to all the textile manufacturing mills here since the early 1800’s. Here at the New England Alpaca Fiber Pool, we are proud to continue the textile manufacturing tradition in the city that does it best.
Throughout the course of the year, we have hundreds of visitors coming from across the country to drop fiber, check out products, pick up orders, and get the 5 cent NEAFP tour. This little Guide to Fall River is our way of saying thank you for making the trek to NEAFP and to share some of our favorite spots in the city. NEAFP’s guide to Fall River has some of our favorite restaurants, bars and attractions, so that you can come down our way and make a day out of it! We feel it is important for you to experience who we are and where we come from so that you can fully appreciate what it is that we do, as well as your role in helping us do so. Thank you again for visiting, and we sincerely hope you enjoy your stay here in the Spindle City.
Fall River: Make it Here.
NEAFP is excited to announce that we have simplified our ordering process by opening up the ability to purchase singles of each of our products! As NEAFP has grown and the volume of orders coming in has increased over the years, there have been certain aspects of our pricing model that did not scale. As we move forward, we felt it was time to re-visit our pricing model for both Fiber Pricing and Wholesale to make it simpler on your end while making processing and fulfillment more streamlined on ours!
We know there is never a good time to raise prices but with the structure update comes some increases. In the last few years, the majority of our manufacturers have increased our costs. We've been able to absorb these increases and keep the majority of our product's price the same for the last 3 years but we've gotten to a point where we have to increase our product pricing in order to stay sustainable.
We've thought long and hard on the best way to implement these increases, and after running several models we found one that fit. About half of our products received approximately a 5% increase at the 12+ quantity discounts. We wanted to keep the pricing increase as low as possible on our higher quantity purchases.
We've increased the single price point slightly more than the original 3 pack price points. Although you are paying a slight premium to buy 1 of something, we believe that it will allow people to try out new products & see what sells in their community. As you try out new products and find success selling them, you can order at higher quantities to receive the bulk price discounts.
With this change in pricing structure, we feel that we have simplified our pricing model for our customers while laying the groundwork for a processing and fulfillment system that reduces errors and increases scale-ability. For the last 20 years, NEAFP has helped thousands of alpaca farms of all sizes gain access to a variety of products Made in the USA on the commercial scale. With these changes, we are in a better position to continue to serve your growing needs for the next 20 years.
Thank you for your continued support, the U.S. alpaca fiber industry would not be where it is today without it!
-Chris & Shelley Riley
+ Sean, Mike, Ana, Brianna, Dave, Matt, Fatiha, Evan, & Corey
By Brianna Paon
If you currently have an alpaca farm, now is a perfect time to take advantage of utilizing your beloved animals to help increase your audience and customer base. Alpacas and camelids in general have been trending in media and advertising throughout the course of the past couple years. Through this steady exposure, people have been getting increasingly excited about alpacas even without knowing much about the animals. By putting your alpacas, farm, and products out there, it gives you a wonderful opportunity to expand your customer reach.
More than ever, alpacas and llamas have been featured in articles, news segments and commercials -- on average, people are generally more familiar with these animals now than they ever have been in the past. The impact of this increase in awareness has become so prevalent that people are beginning to include them in some of the most important days of their lives! With the joy alpacas bring with their smiling faces, who wouldn’t want them present? Could these wedding photos be any more perfect?
Alpaca shows have generated a lot more foot traffic these days due to giving people the opportunity and incentive to interact with the animals. We have been seeing more and more “alpaca selfie booths” where people can have their very own picture with an alpaca. Additionally, shows have included an alpaca costume contest, where typically a child will pair up with an alpaca for a duo costume role. These are the kind of experiences people are looking for -- once they can engage with the animal and appreciate it for what it is, there will likely be sparks of curiosity for the benefits, overall caretaking and use of the animal and its fiber.
Large companies such as Bank of America have been hopping on the camelid themed bandwagon with their #LLOVEYOURAPP campaign, where they feature a talking llama to advertise their banking app. It is obvious that llamas have nothing to do with Bank of America’s business, but their overall likeability, and the general public's curiosity for them, make them a perfect fit in their advertising campaign.
If you keep your eyes peeled, you will notice a more prominent alpaca / camelid theme showing up in retail stores. Whether it be clothing, stuffed animals, or home decor, these animals are on the rise more than ever before. Although these products are not made from alpaca fiber themselves, they increase the general public’s awareness of alpacas and the camelid family as a whole. As the “brand” of alpaca increases, more people are having their interest piqued in regards to these animals, the farms in their communities, and ultimately the products made from their fiber.
A great example of an alpaca who has gone viral on the internet is Chewy out of Adelaide, Australia. He belongs to a 14-year-old boy named Matt whose parents disagreed on getting him a dog, and instead surprised him with an alpaca. There is nothing in particular about Chewy that has made him a worldwide internet sensation other than his social media outreach. People are able to follow Chewy’s life through Instagram at @chew_paca, an account that has nearly 25,000 followers. The entire account contains cute photos of Chewy partaking in everyday activities with his human, Matt. Chewy may have a more exuberant life than most alpacas, but that is because he is treated as the literal equivalent of a pet dog in this family.
One takeaway from the Chewy phenomenon is the power of social media to reach your target demographics and bring exposure to your farm and alpacas! Thousands of people have become newly educated on alpacas solely because Chewy was all over news stations and online publications, and those stations wouldn’t have discovered Chewy if it weren’t for his internet presence, especially on Instagram. One thing that is of primary importance on Instagram is the use of hashtags. This is the number one way to reach new people and cater to their exact interests. For example, you can simply hashtag #Alpaca or you can choose something on a bit of a wider scale, such as #MadeInTheUSA or the increasingly trending #KnitPicks hashtag. Be sure to check out some other all-star alpaca accounts as well such as @alpacasofinstagram and @alpaca.gram -- take a look at their photo content and use of hashtags to see how they’ve become successful in spreading the alpaca love!
If you’re in the alpaca business, you have quite the upper hand considering how much of an internet and media sensation alpacas have become. To most, alpacas are still exotic creatures that they don’t get the opportunity to see -- people are unaware that there is most likely an alpaca farm closer to them than they think. Take advantage of the excitement these animals bring to people. Perhaps offer an “alpaca selfie booth” at your farm or next event -- give your customers incentives towards your products if they share their alpaca selfie on social media with your farm name tagged in it. That way their friends can see and share it, giving your farm more exposure to the public, expanding your potential customer base and bringing more awareness in the community to your farm. Many people, especially a younger crowd, love new experiences just as much as they love new products. Luckily for you, you can give them both with these adorable and fascinating animals!
Our first production run of our BOLD Boucle Lined Alpaca Mittens are now available at fiber and wholesale price points.
We've taken one of our best selling products and added a splash of color!
Here are the colors currently available:
BOLD Boucle - Size Small: Moss Green, Purple, Egyptian Blue
BOLD Boucle - Size Medium: Moss Green, Purple, Egyptian Blue, Slate Grey
BOLD Boucle - Size Large: Moss Green, Slate Grey
For our Big Cable Alpaca Blanket, we started with the warmest, softest, most comfortable all natural fiber grown in the country, U.S. Alpaca.
The natural breathability and moisture wicking properties of the alpaca combined with the loft of the oversized cable knit pattern make a blanket that will keep you warm and comfy year round. It’s generous size, hefty weight, and lush texture, make it perfect for layering over a bed, or draping over a love seat or sectional.
The alpaca fiber in this blanket is grown across the U.S. on alpaca farms and spun into yarn in a century old spinning mill in Massachusetts. The alpaca yarn is knit into fabric in a 3rd generation knitting mill in New Jersey. Once knit, the blankets head back to us here in the Spindle City, Fall River, MA, where we cut, sew, and finish these beautiful blankets.
The evident quality and finesse of this heirloom blanket truly adds more “home” to your house. A perfect gift for someone who has it all and appreciates the best.
Available now at both Fiber and Wholesale price points!
by Brianna Paon
One of the great advantages of bringing your alpaca products to local events and farmers markets is you're surrounded by like minded vendors, catering their businesses to the needs of the community. Connecting with like-minded businesses and finding ways to work together can be mutually beneficial. The key is finding a business that you are not in direct competition with, but share the same demographics. For example, if you are selling U.S. made alpaca products, you will likely have success cross-promoting with a business that shares your target demographics, such as a local craft brewery, a handmade soap maker, or a dog treat bakery!
There are plenty of innovative ways to promote another business while trying to sell at yours. For the purpose of this blog, let’s say you do decide to co-market or co-campaign with a local craft brewery. Each of your demographics involves people that most likely appreciate quality goods, craftsmanship, and locally produced goods. By cross-promoting with a local craft brewery, you are both targeting the same type of audience, but your service offerings are totally different. So how is it that you begin this cross-promotion process?
Reach out to a local business that you find reaches a similar customer base and propose some ideas that will be helpful for each of you. There are several ways you can go about this that really don’t require much work. You could each display each other’s promotional flyers or business cards at your businesses so that more people can see them. The idea that one business is vouching for another business certainly can attract and strike interest in potential customers. Another option could be to exchange coupons with another local business. For example, if a customer buys two or more items from your store, they could perhaps get a coupon for a free or discounted draft beer from the local brewery. If a customer buys a pitcher of beer at the local brewery, they could get a 10% off coupon on their next order at your farm store.
Another good method could be to create a new pop up market or event altogether. You could invite the handmade soapmaker to vend with you at your next holiday event or open house during a weekend at your farm. By the two businesses working and promoting something together, each of you are sharing your respective audiences to boost your clientele. Recurring customers for the organic produce become new customers of yours, and vice versa. Again, each of you are targeting the same demographic, but are selling totally different goods. People have an appreciation for established connections between small businesses, and doing an event together, whether big or small, could prove to be successful for both your farm store and whoever it is you choose to work with.
NEAFP is growing and looking to increase our team in order to meet the challenges of the U.S. Alpaca fiber industry. We are adding 2 full time Production Assistants to help with the increase of raw fiber coming in to the mill and the growing amount of finished products heading out the door!
The New England Alpaca Fiber Pool (NEAFP) is an agricultural service
provider to U.S. Alpaca farms looking to process their alpaca fiber in
the U.S. on a commercial scale. We manage the pooling of raw alpaca
fiber coming off thousands of farms and oversee the manufacturing
process from raw fiber off the animal to finished good ready for shelf.
NEAFP was started in 1997 and located in Fall River, MA.
We are looking to hire a full time (40 hours per week) production assistant to help in several different operations around the mill.
This position's responsibilities will include (but are not limited to) :
What we are looking for in this position:
Schedule: 40 hours per week. Monday through Friday - 8am to 4:30pm
Compensation / Benefits: $11 per hour to start. Benefit Packages available after introductory employment period.
Please share with us your resume, as well as:
Why would you be a good fit here at The New England Alpaca Fiber Pool (NEAFP)?
You can apply here :
A couple months ago we asked farms to share photos of their market booth setups along with some tips and tricks. We've compiled the submissions to share with everyone, we hope you learn something new to implement in your next pop up market. Thank you too all those who participated!
Tamara & Brian Osterman
Suri Serenade Alpacas
Share a tip/trick to displaying product!We display our NEAFP socks in the Mayflower Baskets. We put foam cutouts in the bottom to raise the socks (Low-Pro, Survival and Boot) up to the desired height. The baskets are eye-catching and draw attention from a distance. It's a handy way to market both products and since the Survival socks are a best seller, they are prominently displayed!
Alpaca Dreams, LLC
Share a tip/trick to displaying product!If you use necktie display racks and tiered displays like we do for our alpaca products, arrange them so you can see your customers from behind the tables. We had too many things for the space we were given and we had to keep ducking around our displays to talk with our customers. Next time we will alternate the tall displays with shorter ones.
Share a tip/trick to displaying product!In a 6'x8' booth, we go vertical. We purchased this display online...it is very versatile.
When we are at a show with less foot traffic, we scale down our display based on the audience. Here, we have eliminated most of the higher end scarves, but have all of the staples available. Everything fits on a table and is easy to see. My biggest tip when using a table is to get your product at eye level by using bed risers under the table legs...makes a big difference!
At an outdoor event, we use a 10'x10' canopy (make sure it is weighted down WELL or you'll end up having to have someone hold it down. My tip here is to move things to the front of the tent and use up ALL the room from left to right. People don't seem to like to come all the way into the tent and you want to look like you have a lot to offer.
Hill Crest Alpacas
Share a tip/trick to displaying product!
We do Simpson Spring Marketplace in So. Easton every Saturday 10 am to 2 pm from October to May 1st. This is an indoor Market and has become an Outlet for customers to shop on Saturday. It is very important to be there every week so your customers can always find you. From June 1st to October we do Westport Farmers' Market an outdoor market and therefore bring alpacas as a draw for the Market and to educate visitors about alpaca and their fleece properties segmenting into product sales.
Apple Hill Farm
Share a tip/trick to displaying product!
We have a single Low Pro and a single Survival sock that has been washed hanging with our socks. This allows people to put the hands down in the sock and really see what they feel like!
We hang all of ours on Gridwall.
Good Karma Ranch Alpacas
Share a tip/trick to displaying product!
ALWAYS have animals with you and using an old ladder for bed blankets and throws looks nice and keeps them clean.
Share a tip/trick to displaying product!
My daughter learned to spin yarn and we set up a spinning wheel in the booth. It really drew prospective customers.
Hums of Faith Suris
Share a tip/trick to displaying product!
Inside a storage shed that we rent and sell our products at a local Christmas Tree Farm.
Green Acres Alpaca
Share a tip/trick to displaying product!
Always have a Banner and make sure everything is priced.I sell more socks on the Gulf of Mexico on Anna Maria Island than at Pa Farmers Markets. Emphasizing the Moisture Wicking and Antimicrobial properties!
Beech Springs Alpacas
Share a tip/trick to displaying product!Change things around every few weeks (if it is part of a permanent setup), and otherwise keep it interesting and colorful.
Share a tip/trick to displaying product!Norlander Sock Company sells at various markets and we go out of our way to make our displays seasonally relevant. This photo was from a pop up Winter Market and we decorated with holiday items. We also customized our signs to reflect the current holiday and made sure signage included that day's event.
Heartland "Criations" Alpacas LLC
Share a tip/trick to displaying product!
My tip is to brand yourself with your display, so people will recognize you wherever you go!
Memory Maker Alpacas
Share a tip/trick to displaying product!
Sending two pictures from same booth, to show entire display, from a show this past November. This was the first time at this show. A ten foot table was provided, with bleachers behind the table. A strange set-up with the bleachers there but we made the best of it and did very well.
Suggestions: have items priced so customers don't have to ask prices; have several sock size cards, that you all provide, laid out for referral; more popular items towards front of table; I have quite a few photos of our alpacas laid out, and offer them to customers who are purchasing items for gifts, so they can be included with gift; lots of business cards available; also have an alpaca information sheet that talks about their care, their fiber, etc. available if wanted; I have guest log book in my farm store that guests sign and leave email address.....when I have a list of all the bazaars we are going to attend in the fall/winter I email these to everyone on the list (this was a customer suggestion); take credit cards ( we now use PayPal; probably 50 per cent of this past winter's sales were credit); I have a lot of repeat customers each year and they seem to sincerely appreciate that I remember them and often remember what they like to buy each year; I do carry some stuffed animals and always have some of these towards front of tables. It's surprising how many people, of all ages, stop and hold/pet these animals and most often end up buying one or more; have a small mirror readily available for those wanting to try on a hat; for exceptionally nice people, who inquire about farm visits, I always let them know they are welcome to come for a visit (we don't charge a fee as I hear some farms do), call first, and then make their visit enjoyable and fun. Many return year after year and always like to buy more items in the farm store.
Be friendly and enjoy all the "stories" so many people want to share.
We are happy to announce that we will be vending and running a Fiber Collection at the upcoming Great Western Alpaca Show in Denver, CO!
This is a great opportunity for farms in the area to get their fiber to NEAFP for free as well as check out our products and start stocking your farm stores for the Fall and Winter Sales season.
This collection's fiber will be palletized and NEAFP will cover the freight trucking charges back to our mill in Fall River, MA .
That’s it. From their your fiber will make it’s way back to NEAFP for Free!
**We will not be collecting Third-grade fiber at this show's collection due to the increased cost of shipping it across the country.
Bill S490 was introduced in the MA State House of
Representatives that would ban all wild and exotic animal shows and
displays in the state. Due to the bill being poorly
written and vague, both
LLAMAS and ALPACAS would be considered an
exotic animal in this proposed legislature.
If passed as is, this bill could possibly have the unintended consequences of:
Currently the bill has been referred to the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture for review and there will be a hearing on it (date not yet set).
NEAFP is actively in contact with state legislators and encourage all alpaca farms in MA and all of New England to speak out in OPPOSITION of Bill S.490.
Here are the MA State Representatives on the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture
Here is a copy of the email NEAFP sent out:
Thank you for taking the time to tour the New England Alpaca Fiber Pool facility last Friday. Knowing your commitment to agriculture, the environment and the economy, it was a pleasure to give you a tour of our unique business in Fall River.
Since your visit it has been brought to my attention that there is a bill before the Massachusetts House & Senate (S 490 or SENATE DOCKET, NO. 2002) that among other things, attempts to redefine Llama ( and alpaca) from a domestic farm animal to an exotic animal. As a principle in both Golden Touch Farm (Westport), home to one of the largest alpaca herds in Massachusetts and the New England Alpaca Fiber Pool (Fall River), the largest processor of domestic alpaca fiber in the country, this bill is of great concern. I believe it's passage will have the unintended consequences of:
In an age where slow food and slow fashion have come en-vogue, the commonwealth has successfully leveraged its cultural diversity and historical background to benefit greatly from both the culinary and fashion impact of these trends. LLama and Alpaca plays a key role in the slow fashion trend in that they have been a domestic farm animal for over 5000 years and as a result are easy to care for, resilient to disease, require low food and water and are small and stress free animals. These attributes are well suited to small agricultural initiatives that seek an alternative livestock model while allowing small farms to participate in natural fiber / slow fashion that is both profitable while having low impact on the environment. Re-categorizing a Llama or Alpaca as an exotic animal is a poorly conceived notion. South America has domesticated these animals for over 5000 years and are very much equivalent to our own sheep and mule. They normally don't exist in the wild.
Slow Fashion is the next big thing for agriculture where natural fibers will play a pivotal role. The small footprint of our state does not immediately lend itself to large farms, however, it is well suited to small diverse farms where locally grown and locally made products are a priority. Massachusetts and especially the Southcoast does have a long historical background of processing natural fiber ( wool & cotton) and a strong ready made infrastructure waiting to be revitalized. Our century old textile mills are the perfect place to promote a new fashion movement and we should do what ever is in our power to promote that activity. Certainly, re-categorizing a well established fiber producing animal as exotic does not help facilitate that goal.
Manufacturers are interesting in alpaca fiber not because it is exotic but due to the unique advantages it has over wool (soft, moisture wicking, warm). With the increased market demand for merino wool, alpaca provides a unique alternative. Wool is disadvantaged with its tendency to shrink and requires delicate handling. The wool industry solution to this problem is to "Super Wash" the wool using very harsh chemicals with significant impact on the environment. Alpaca does not have the same shrinking problem and does not need to be "Super Washed" and as a result, can be blended with wool and alleviate the negative impact on the environment. Identifying LLama and Alpaca as exotic may cause investors to rethink revitalizing some of our old mills and processing natural fiber in the commonwealth. No such restriction has been adopted by any state that I know of.
In closing, I would ask for your help in doing whatever you can to defeat this bill as it may have unintended consequences both on agriculture and the economy.
New England Alpaca Fiber Pool
------March 29th, 2017 - Response from Bruce Tarr - Original Sponsor of the Bill-------
Dear Mr. Riley:
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your input relative to Senate Bill 490, An Act Relative to Wild and Exotic Animal Performance Prohibition, a bill I filed this past January that is currently pending before the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture (ENRA).
My intent in filing this legislation centered on those traveling performing acts usually referred to as circuses, as a means to address the often cruel and abusive living circumstances of these creatures. Unfortunately, it has become clear to me that the current language also has the potential to impact local educational enterprises and farms, which certainly do not merit inclusion in a statute of this sort. The points you and other Commonwealth residents, many of whom own small businesses, raised as unintended consequences of Senate Bill 490 as currently drafted certainly point to the fact that the bill warrants a much more thorough analysis and additional vetting by stakeholders and the general public.
Please know I have notified the chairs of ENRA as well as the cosponsors of Senate Bill 490 with my request that the bill be reviewed and researched further, including but not limited to the correlation with any applicable federal law or regulation, with the hopes that the committee may advise on more appropriate language in the context described above. I would encourage you to forward to the committee’s attention your personal statement on Senate Bill 490 so that your comments may be considered by the research staff and be included in the material that would be made available to other legislators. I would be happy as well to send along to the committee chairs any statement that you may have emailed to me recently, should this be more convenient for you. I welcome your advice on this; you may feel free to email me directly at Bruce.Tarr@MASenate.gov.
Again, thank you for reaching out to me.
State House, Room 308
Boston, MA 02133