Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Noah and I recently joined the Michigan Alpaca Livestock Product and Commerce Association (MI-ALPACA). We first learned of the organization last spring at the show in Davisburg and then again when we started attending SWMAA (Southwest Michigan Alpaca Association meetings-these meetings started with a couple of farms informally meeting in the southwest part of Michigan, and now over a year later, more and more farms have been attending these meeting that move from farm to farm on a monthly basis. There were close to 25 or so farms represented at the last meeting we attended and a few from our area. It is just an informal meeting to discuss alpacas, share resources, and they have guest speakers who attend to talk about different alpaca related subjects. It is a great networking and educational opportunity). Anyway, this is where we again heard about MI-ALPACA and decided that we wanted to be involved with the new organization. While Michigan is included in the AOBA affiliate of the Great Lakes Alpaca Association, so are 7 other states surrounding the Great Lakes. The MI-ALPACA group is meant to be an AOBA affiliate that represents just Michigan.

The mission of the Michigan Alpaca Livestock Product and Commerce Association is to advance the alpaca industry in the State of Michigan through the joint effort of alpaca breeders, fiber processors, and commercial producers/sellers of alpaca finished products, Michigan educational institutions and alpaca research organizations for the benefit of the Alpacas and all those involved with their care and their fiber products.

The goals of the Michigan Alpaca Livestock Products and Commerce Association are to:

  • Promote the continuance of a dynamic, growing and profitable alpaca industry in Michigan.
  • Encourage the breeding of the highest quality alpacas.
  • Provide training and education to its members on alpaca management, health and other alpaca husbandry practices.
  • Provide marketing and growth opportunities for the Michigan alpaca industry through shows, public relations events, youth programs, and collaboration with state and local governments and civic organizations.
  • Promote, conduct and/or sponsor programs to educate and inform the public about alpacas and alpaca products.
  • Promote research of alpacas and alpaca fiber at Michigan Universities.
  • Help establish and support a South American Camelid Department within the School of Agriculture at Michigan State University
  • Promote the development of products made of Alpaca fiber.
  • Encourage social interaction of members.
The MI-ALPACA is going to hold it's first Board Member elections in January of 2010 to elect 7 board members. They will also be asking their members to vote to make a change in the by-laws so that AOBA will finally approve MI-ALPACA as an AOBA affiliate. Noah and I both decided to run for the board. We believe in the mission and goals of the organization and we see this as an opportunity to advance the alpaca industry in Michigan. We also love the idea of promoting a camelid program at MSU and of bringing an alpaca show to the west side of the state as both Michigan shows are currently held on the east side of the state. Even if we don't get elected to the board, we plan to sit on one of the association's committees which include:

Member Education
Public Awareness and Education
Industry Networking
Michigan Resources

We are excited about MI-ALPACA and encourage you to check the association out for yourself by following this link:



cara said...

This sounds like a great thing for Michigan. I'd love to hear more about it :)

Noah and Jillian Schwander said...

Definitely check out the website and we can talk more about it next time we see each other! I think it will be great for MI!