by Diane Peckham
On October 14, 1995 a group of Missouri Alpaca Breeders met at the Alpaca Company in Columbia, MO. Diane and Nick Peckham hosted this first meeting of MOPACA.
Attending the meeting were five of the 13 Missouri members of AOBA: Diane and Nick Peckham, the Harrisons (Margaret Stine), John and Louise Martin, Francine and Jim Pettyjohn, and Patti and Danny Watson.
After touring the farm to see the Peckham’s herd of 13 alpacas, a lively discussion of Alpaca Tips took place. Some of the tips included DO NOT hose the blanket; consider a cool water enema to lower body temperature; hose a limestone bed for belly cooling and provide shade in a shelter or barn and use electric fans.
Other tips regarded how to feed alpacas and how to shear them. The group discussed leaving an inch of fleece on the alpaca to avoid sunburn and were cautioned not to make any second cuts because spinners hate this! Fleece prices ranged from $4 to $6 per ounce of washed and carded wool.
Two members of MOPACA sold knitting and spinning equipment. Patti Watson sold Brother Knitting machines and Francine Pettyjohn sold Ashford Spinning Wheels and Schacht Spindle Company looms.
The group agreed to incorporate MOPACA and become an AOBA affiliate. The chores to go ahead were laid out and officers and committees were formed. The biggest chore was preparing the by-laws of the organization and then becoming an official affiliate.
Three weeks later the Peckhams took 3 yearling alpacas to the Small Farm Show in Columbia and Nick gave a talk on “Alpacas as an Investment” to a group of about 100 people from all over the United States. This was followed by a lively question and answer session which revealed a high level of interest in alpacas.
MOPACA agreed to meet quarterly and set up the 1996 schedule: February was alpaca health at White River Llamas and Alpacas (the Pettyjohns), May was shearing alpacas at Dale Natoli’s farm, August was being at the Missouri State Fair, and November was the MOPACA Convention.
MOPACA’s first newsletter was a summary of this first meeting and was put out in November 1995.