ACOA BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Stacie Chavez along with her Husband Skip began breeding and showing Huacaya Alpacas in 2009. Their Farm, Sky Ridge Alpacas, is located in Tygh Valley, Oregon. Stacie started setting goals, 5 years ago focused on creating a National Alpaca Fiber Initiative. Stacie has extensive knowledge in sourcing, sorting and consolidating materials; that is taking raw materials into a central location and then manufacturing them into finished products. This experience was a perfect fit with creating the “distribution” chain that would be needed to collect, grade, bale and sale alpaca fiber.
The collection has grown at a steady pace over the last 5 years. As the collection has grown, so has the list of customers. As demand for alpaca fiber has increased, so has the price of the raw fiber. Alpaca is valued at almost 10 times as much as sheep wool for comparable grades.
During 2015 the fiber was collected at 5 farms located across the US: Snow Diamond Alpacas, Bend, OR; Red Granite Ranch Livermore, CO; Tierra Promiteda Alpaca Ranch Fischer, TX; West Penn Alpacas Claysville, PA; and Little Creek Alpaca Farm North Salem, NY. We had three certified graders that we could not have succeeded without Wini Labrecque, Elizabeth Taylor and Alvina Maynard. With the help of our graders and a huge group of volunteers we pulled off the first multi-location collection. It took over 6 weeks in late summer 2015. (I have attached the summary for 2015’s collection).
As the years have passed the collection has grown and this year we will add one additional collection site, Sabamba Alpacas in De Pere, WI. 2016 created lots of advertising through e-blasts, print ads and social media posts. The activity and excitement for the 2016 collection is shown through the many e-mails and calls.
In 2015 we sold to 5 different buyers. The fiber all stayed in the US and utilized American Manufacturing, which was an added bonus. We have 10 purchase orders in place from 10 different purchasers for the 2016 collection that has not even been graded and baled yet. The most exciting thing about the 2016 collection is – I always said, “build it and they will come”. This statement is true – I am seeing prices rise for fiber, due to how limited the fiber is. As the collection becomes more and more organized and we have more and more growers selling their fiber through ACOA we will see pricing stabilize and we will have a better understanding of what the supply of raw fiber looks like for the U.S.
In late 2015 Stacie Chavez along with Lynn Edens purchased Imperial Stock Ranch Fiber. Imperial Yarn, which is a company under the Imperial Stock Ranch Fiber umbrella, supplied the yarn for the 2014 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony Sweaters. Stacie and Lynn will continue to create demand in the market place for alpaca fiber, by creating yarn and finished goods for the buying public.
In Early 2016 with the help Skip Chavez, Stacie started a “live” livestock model for Alpaca fiber ranching in Tygh Valley, OR. This has been the same calling they had for the fiber collection – it’s just become a whole lot more involved. They truly are learning as they go. They free range male alpacas, whose ages range from 8 months to 8 years, the alpacas feed off of the land and are given only free choice minerals and endless water. As far as Stacie and Skip know they are the only ranch free ranging alpacas in North America. They learned early that we had to break the male groups up by age and sometimes also by size. They have over 1,600 acres of fenced land for the animals to graze on. They have access to a total of 6,500 acres. As they journal and work through the logistics and systems needed to create a working livestock model, they will share what they learn and have already started writing the frame work on how others can do the same.