Craig County alpaca farm wins top national honors

Man in the Moon Farm alpacas walk around grazing.

Man in the Moon Farm of Craig County produced the 2017 Alpaca Owners Association (AOA) National Supreme Champion. Peruvian Ganymede, a 21 month old white male alpaca was entered in the Denver, Colorado, show that was held the weekend of March 18.

He took home the top prize for his fleece and body style. Per the trio of Senior Judges that presided over, arguably, the largest alpaca show in the country, “the character of his fleece and the micro bundles forming, along with the uniformity of microns – we’re pretty excited about seeing that, and when you put that in combination with his soft handle, the brightness, and the consistency throughout his fleece – all of the pieces come together.”

The show also boasted a performance class, and a costume class, where children (mostly through 4H) and adults alike showed their ability to train and handle the alpacas through an obstacle course, and dress themselves and their alpacas to parade around the ring. Think of alpacas in a dog show – they are just a tad larger, weighing between 100 and 180 pounds.

Alpacas are docile animals, which if well-trained, are even known to act as therapy pets – visiting schools and nursing homes – to help bring excitement and cheer. According to Brenda Landes, the owner of Man in the Moon Farm along with her husband Mark Edmonds, the most commonly expressed question is “why alpacas?” To this she has a ready response. “They’re adorable, intelligent, and calming animals. They’re light on the land, as they have padded feet rather than hooves. They are ideal for relatively small acreage and can be stocked at 6 to 8 head per acre for grazing. They produce an amazing fiber which is said to be hypoallergenic, is amazingly soft, naturally water repellant, lightweight and warm.”

In their native countries – primarily Peru, Chile, and Bolivia – the alpaca is an essential source for food, clothing and other textiles. Man in the Moon Farm brought its first six alpacas to the farm on Johns Creek Road in 2014. Today, 24 alpacas reside on the farm and 6 crias (alpaca babies) are expected in 2017.

-Submitted by Brenda Landes