ANNANDALE -- Central Minnesotans had the opportunity to get out and learn about alpacas at a local farm over the weekend.

After a COVID-19 related cancelation in 2020, 5R Alpacas opened up their doors for the 15th annual National Alpaca Farm Days on Saturday and Sunday.

Sharon and Terry Rassier have been raising alpacas for 23 years and at one time had over 60 animals. Now, they are in the process of relocating the animals from their farm in Clearwater to their daughter’s farm in Annandale.

Sharon Rassier says she first heard about alpacas from someone she knew and decided to look into what it would take to raise them.

They were just fairly new here. So then I checked them out and I liked the fact that you could raise the animal and not have to hurt it or anything.

She says they are fairly hearty and low-maintenance, but anyone interested in adding alpacas to their family should plan on getting at least two because they are herd animals. She adds that alpacas and llamas are not at all the same.

Everybody always asks that - what's the difference between an alpaca and a llama? Llamas are about three times as big as an alpaca. They were raised as like a pack animal for carrying things or a guard animal for guarding, and alpacas were strictly raised for their fiber.

Llamas and alpacas are originally from South America and make up the camelid family alongside vicunas and guanacos. The fabrics made from the fibers of these animals have been considered a luxury, as alpaca is warmer than sheep’s wool and far less abrasive.

In addition to raising, breeding, and selling the alpacas, the Rassiers also make and sell a variety of items using their fiber including socks, hats, gloves, and more as part of a co-op of farmers.

5R Alpacas

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