Cotton is not the only Fiber grown in Arizona
Alpaca and Llama Producer Puts Herself On The Map
Located 150 miles north of Phoenix, the small town of Ash Fork, AZ, may not seem to have much to offer. But despite its population barely over 500 and just a few buildings spread out among its minimal square mileage, it is a town rich in history and recognized for its farming. Ash Fork is the home of AlAnn Ranch, one of Arizona’s leading llama and alpaca producers.
Ann Lamon, co-owner of AlAnn Ranch, along with her husband Alan, is no stranger to the farming lifestyle. She remembers as a little girl going with her family to a ranch in St. David, where she would watch as cutting horses, cattle and Shetland ponies were bred, trained and sold. She immediately had a special place in her heart for the lifestyle and values that accompany the farming industry, and in 2002 she opened her own alpaca ranch. Lamon’s true passion lies in the medical and scientific aspects of livestock, and is one of the few farmers who handle the majority of the herd’s health needs on her own.
AlAnn Ranch produces alpaca and llamas for many different needs: show quality alpacas, breeding stock, fiber, companion and pet animals. Aside from managing the animals, Lamon is also skilled in processing fiber to spin, weave, knit, crochet or sew various items that she sells on her web site and from her ranch. Some of those items include rugs, blankets, hats, gloves, scarves, socks and handbags.
Working with alpacas provides its share of challenges for Lamon. Alpacas now number above 100,000 in the United States, but they are quite unique and are not widely known. Lamon has struggled to find doctors who know how to care for them, and she is always doing her best to stay ahead of the new diseases that arise as alpacas adapt to the environment. Lamon also faces the challenge of being in an industry dominated by males. She has worked hard to find the courage and confidence to do what she is capable of, and has successfully done so.
During the last week of April each year, Ash Fork’s quiet country roads become packed with friends and family from neighboring cities and states who have come to participate in AlAnn Ranch’s annual “shearing” event. Lamon provides camping spots or other accommodations for the guests and hosts a barbeque on Saturday night for everyone in attendance. At the end of the weekend, AlAnn Ranch has their raw fiber product.
Lamon can also be seen around the state at various fairs and trade shows. They usually attend two to four shows per year — setting up a booth, bringing animals to share, educating the public, and selling hand and machine made products to the public.
AlAnn Ranch Alpacas is a member of Arizona Farm Bureau, Alpaca Breeders of Arizona, Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association, Mountain and Valley Wool Association, the Alpaca Registry and supports the annual SouthWest Regional Alpaca Show in Phoenix.
For more information about AlAnn Ranch, please visit www.alannranch.com or call 928-925-0139.