A US industry group has been formed to assist manufacturers in the production, promotion, profitability and marketability of American alpaca fibre, bridging the gap with suppliers.

The industry-centric US Alpaca Fiber Council (USAFC) focuses on processing activities associated with US produced alpaca fleece and moving it into the national supply chain. The council comprises artisan and commercial mills, agricultural cooperatives and alpaca industry experts.

The main aim of USAFC is to build an efficient communication infrastructure bridging the gap between US alpaca growers and US manufacturers by educating growers on profitability, sustainability and harvest best practices. Benefits to manufacturing are expected to include sourcing, pricing, quality assurance and market analysis.

The council wants to create a focal point where growers and manufacturers can develop strategies to address technology, market access and quality.

"While the textile industry focuses on supply chain sustainability, re-shoring and authentic brands, we believe US grown fibre and US made alpaca textiles could not be a better fit," says Chris Riley, owner of the New England Alpaca Fiber Pool (NEAFP) and founding organiser with USAFC.

Since the US first commercially imported alpacas in 1984, the primary focus of the individual alpaca breeder has been to produce offspring with the "finest, softest, most lustrous" fleece, according to USAFC. This concept has produced a national herd of superior fleece that is able to compete in the global market.

"The founders understand the opportunity of being at the ground floor of this very exciting industry," adds Norm Johnson, Alpaca Owners Association (AOA), president. "They all agreed to work collaboratively on a sustainable and efficient US alpaca supply chain."