Alpaca farming on the rise - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Alpaca farming on the rise

Wall Street went to work Wednesday knowing the Federal Reserve was meeting, knowing housing numbers are still bad, gas is still high, and investors still found reasons to buy stock.

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The sales of new homes fell 2% in May, marking the sixth decline in seven months.

The real estate problem can be traced back to companies like Countrywide and sub-prime loans.

Wednesday Countrywide Financial says stockholders have approved the company's takeover by Bank of America.

The lender says the deal is expected to close on July 1st.

Countrywide Financial is accused in California and Illinois of using misleading advertising and other unfair business practices to trick borrowers into taking on risky home loans they didn't fully understand.

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One of Kentucky's fastest growing industries is where you might least suspect it.  Today there are about 90 Alpaca farms in the Commonwealth. Ten years ago there were fewer than ten.

The face of Kentucky farming is changing.   Judie and Bob Gilpin's Oldham County farm got into the Alpaca business seven years ago.  Judie explains, "I was looking for a way to make this property pay for itself.  And also looking for an income during retirement."

Judie bought two pregnant Alpacas.  Today she has a herd of 18.  For many Kentucky farmers it's a new business, but an attractive one.  Judie say the animals are, "Good on the land, they don't tear up the land.  They don't tear up fences, they're gentle, are real friendly and they're beautiful animals."

Alpaca farmers make their money through selling breeding stock or selling the fibre.  Up to eight pounds of fleece a year from each animal adds up, according to Julie:  "Most of the Alpacas I have come from Peru, I have two Bolivians, to give it a little different bloodline.  So I can breed with some of my males...They are very gentle, they eat the grass, typcially a low protein diet, we also feed them a grain.

"Some are friendly, some are not.  Just like people, and they will come up and smell you, once you have a baby and you imprint, massaging it in the areas, they don't like their ears touched, they don't like their heads touched, or their legs touched.  Especially in the males, but you massage them all over, then they're very easy to handle."

Sheared once a year, the Alpaca fleece is sorted, spun, and made into sweaters, hats, and scarfs. "Alpaca doesn't have any guard hairs in it, say like a Llama does or even some wools, there is no lanolin in it, it's totally hypoallergenic...It's naturally resistant or repellant, and it's warm without being heavy."

If you would like to talk Alpacas, or are interested in the products, you can call Judie at her farm, Alpaca Crossing at 502-216-7503.

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