Page 13: Shearing time down on the farm

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Cindy Labbie raises alpacas on her farm in Harrison County. The animals originated in South America and are considered livestock in Mississippi.

Cindy and her husband Terry own Wolf River Alpaca Farm.

"These guys, when you interact with them know what you're doing. They're very intelligent with different personalities," said Labbie.

The alpacas are waiting their turn. A team that specializes in shearing, led by Jeff Ebel is on the farm grooming all the animals.

"We leave in March and go on the road for three months," Ebel said.

The shearing team travels across America.

"We work in about 35 states," Ebel said.

The shearing is done for two reasons. First, the wool must be removed before the heat of summer sets in. The other purpose is to send the fiber to market. It's a valuable commodity.

"It's warmer than wool and softer than cashmere," said Labbie.

It is turned into blankets, scarves, sweaters and much more. Centuries ago, alpaca fiber was considered a luxury in the mountains of Peru where the animal's fleece was a prized possession.

"It was called the fiber of the gods. You could only wear it if you were royalty," Labbie said.

Shearing season is a time of harvest at Wolf River Alpaca Farm.

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