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Burning of the Brand, Canadian alpaca fibers on full display at Agribition


The Burning of the Brand marked the return of Canadian Western Agribition in Regina on Monday morning.

The week-long event will feature events for all ages and is located throughout REAL District.

CEO Shaun Kindopp said the atmosphere surrounding this year’s expo can’t be compared to previous years.

“The atmosphere around here is infectious,” Kindopp said. “We are excited to be back again, Mother Nature did not want to cooperate with us, but if there is one group of people that are going to be resilient it is the people of Saskatchewan.”

Among the many activities is one called alpaca fleece judging, where alpaca fibers from all over the country are submitted and judged on their look and quality.

Kelsey Kaban owns a livestock farm in Esterhazy and has owned alpacas since 2017.

Alpacas are seen in this image. (LukeSimard/CTVNews)

She said owning the animals have many benefits.

“We sell stuff like socks, mitts and stuff like that and it's five times warmer than sheep's wool,” Kaban explained. “It actually doesn't have the allergens in it that sheep wool does so it doesn't have that itchy scratchy feeling that you'll get from sheep's wool.”

Kaban also said the wool is highly sought after and sustainable as the fiber grows back every year.

“The nice thing about them [alpacas] is they'll continue to do that throughout their lifespan, so we don't have to worry about retiring them out or anything like that,” Kaban said. “When they get older, we can still make product.”

Amanda VandenBosch has been judging alpaca fibers for over 30 years.

On an international scale, she said Canadian breeders produce a high quality.

“When we travel across the world, obviously there's lots of different regions, there's lots of different bloodlines, but breeders here in Canada have been really doing an excellent job of selecting the traits that are really valuable production traits,” VandenBosch said.

Alpaca fibre also has water-wicking abilities and is flame resistant.

Alpaca fleece is quickly gaining popularity. (LukeSimard/CTVNews)

The fibre can also be worn in cold and warm climates making it a marketable product in North America, South America and Europe.

Breeders are paying attention to those qualities that make the fiber so now you are starting to see a lot more alpaca and alpaca products on the market,” VandenBosch said.

Kaban and VandenBosch credit Canadian Western Agribition for being part of the reason alpaca fiber is becoming more popular. Top Stories

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