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Camelid Community 2009 Report

Camelid Community logo“It’s Not Business as Usual”

July 31-Aug. 2, 2009
Radisson Hotel, Kansas City, MO
By Sheila Fugina and Barb Baker

Background and History

Camelid Community is the only national forum that offers the opportunity for dialog among representatives of national, regional and local camelid organizations as well as interested individuals and owners, providing a unique opportunity for an assessment of the “state of the union” of the camelid world. In the 1990s, the International Llama Association (now defunct) sponsored an annual Llama Assembly, the last of which was held in Colorado Springs in 1997. Representatives of a number of llama and alpaca organizations got together to host Llama & Alpaca Symposium in Kansas City in 1998, a highly successful and representative event. No group or combination of groups sponsored a similar national gathering in 1999. Feeling a need to see such a gathering held on an annual basis, several members of the Llama Association of North America tried getting it going again by hosting a Lama Community in 2000 in Kansas City. Though numbers were few at first, attendance grew as hosting and facilitating rotated among various groups and individuals. At the 2004 event the group voted to change the name to Camelid Community to better reflect the background and interest of attendees. Unlike most conferences, Camelid Community’s agenda is set by participants, and those unable to attend also are encouraged to submit proposed agenda items. Camelid Community is a “move forward and get things accomplished” group and not simply a weekend gathering to wring hands and re-hash old problems.  

Doing Business in Tough Times

Last year’s Camelid Community produced several educational and marketing pieces for use by members of the llama and alpaca industry in their individual and association outreach and publicity efforts. This year’s group built on that momentum by continuing to move forward during these very unsettling times. Feeling that there is still business to be done even if it isn’t “business as usual”, participants brainstormed economically viable ideas that can be adapted or tweaked to fit individual or regional needs and resources. Whether owners have two animals, 20 or 200, there are many ways our llamas and alpacas can help pay for their care and feeding even if we don’t make a living from them. Most of the time at Camelid Community 2009 was spent putting together a packet of business ideas designed to help people recognize the potential of their animals and how they can capitalize on the qualities that make them unique.

Business Ideas Packet

Though by no means an all inclusive or detailed list of all the possible uses for alpacas and llamas, the business ideas packet is designed to get owners’ creative juices flowing and encourage them to put together their own individual plans for maximizing the use of their animals. Called “Customize to Maximize…because one size doesn’t fit all!”, the packet contains three sections that focus on different ways to utilize our llamas and alpacas: fiber, agri-tourism and public relations. Not all ideas will work for everyone, but every one of them could work for someone. Owners at all levels can find something in this packet to help them earn some income with their animals.

Another section includes tips on marketing—you can have a great product, but no one will beat a path to your door if they don’t know about it. Some of the ideas cost money and some don’t. The business practices section stresses finding out why potential buyers are interested in llamas or alpacas before trying to sell them any and helping them get the information they need before making any decisions. The complete business ideas packet is available at, the web site for the International Camelid Institute, in the Camelid Community section.


Several research reports were presented to participants either at Camelid Community or shortly after. Reports from the Lama Medical Research Group (LMRG), Alpaca Research Foundation (ARF) and the Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) provided updates on camelid research projects in various stages of completion. Three new projects have been approved for funding by MAF, three continuing studies are in their last year of funding and another study was announced as completed. ARF announced five newly funded research projects for 2009-2010.

LMRG’s purpose is to review research proposals that are presented to MAF’s Llama/Alpaca Division for funding. The camelid industry is provided the opportunity through LMRG to have input on these proposals as far as project applicability and affordability. MAF’s Scientific Advisory Board evaluates the proposals for scientific methodology and merit and is receptive to LMRG input provided during the annual evaluation process. ARF’s mission is to encourage and support scientific research that benefits the North American alpaca industry, primarily in the areas of alpaca health and husbandry, genetics and fiber. Reports from all three groups are available at as part of Camelid Community’s overall 2009 report.

Updated fact sheets, designed for easy duplication and distribution, were provided on Camelid Community and on the National Lama Intervention & Rescue Coordination Council (IRC Council). The first describes the goals and objectives of Camelid Community, gives a bit of the background and history of the gathering and highlights some of the major accomplishments of the annual forum. The IRC Council fact sheet describes the camelid welfare group’s purpose and gives details on its projects, both ongoing and completed. The fact sheet also provides ways for the llama and alpaca communities to get involved in camelid welfare at a variety of levels. Both fact sheets are available for downloading at the web site listed above.

Organizations Represented

Camelid Community 2009 participants came from Washington and California in the west, Massachusetts down to Georgia on the east coast and numerous states in the heart of the country, from Wisconsin in the north to Texas in the south. In addition to a number of interested individuals and owners, the following groups were represented at Camelid Community 2009:

National Organizations
Alpaca & Llama Show Association (ALSA)
Alpaca Fiber Cooperative of North America (AFCNA)
Alpaca Owners & Breeders Association (AOBA)
Alpaca Registry, Inc. (ARI)
American Miniature Llama Association (AMLA)
International Camelid Institute (ICI)
International Lama Registry (ILR)
National Lama Intervention & Rescue Coordination Council (IRC Council)

Regional/State Associations
California Alpaca Breeders Association (CALPACA)
Golden Plains Llama Association (GPLA)
Greater Appalachian Llama & Alpaca Association (GALA)
Illinois Lama Association (ILLA)
Llamas & Alpacas of the Mid-Atlantic States (LAMAS)
Midwest Alpaca Owners & Breeders Association (MOPACA)
Missouri Llama Association (MLA)
Ohio River Valley Llama Association (ORVLA)
Southeast Llama Rescue (SELR)
Southern States Llama Association (SSLA)
Wisconsin Organization of Lama Enthusiasts (ORGLE)

Resources from Camelid Community

In addition to the packet of business ideas produced at Camelid Community 2009, Camelid Community has also produced a basic care brochure, “The Basics of Alpaca & Llama Care”, and a press packet that contains a sample press release, llama and alpaca fact sheet and a poster, as well as tips on how to use all of these publicity pieces. They are available for downloading at under the Camelid Community section. The report on the latest Camelid Community is also available on the site, and information and reports from previous years are archived there.

Camelid Community 2010

Work already has begun on Camelid Community 2010, which is set for July 30-August 1 at the Radisson Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. For information on how you or your organization can be involved, contact Sheila Fugina ( or 715-246-5837) or Barb Baker ( or 740-397-1736). Input and participation is welcomed from all quarters of the alpaca and llama communities in the U.S. and beyond.                                 SCLA is a 501(c)(5) Non-Profit Organization                     Web Designer: Sharon Bramblett
Updated: Sat 24-Oct-2009 14:19
           ©2009 South Central Llama Association