A Farm Full of Fleece
From the Wisconsin State Journal, by Barry Adams
TOWN OF SUN PRAIRIE — The quaint farmstead on Pierceville Road has been in Erin Egan’s family since the 1890s.
Mounds, bags and bales of fleece from thousands of alpaca from 700 farms in 35 states fill the Egans’ barn. In the barnyard, the Egans’ 40 head of Huacaya alpaca frolic among the wandering chickens, ducks and lone llama. The couple also sell pumpkins, peaches, apples, blackberries, pears and raspberries.
“It’s a luxury item,” Paul Egan said. Alpaca Blanket Project was located in Stayton, Ore., but when owners Peter and Carol Lundberg announced late last year they were selling the company for health reasons, the Egans, who had been using their service, bought the business, providing another layer of revenue for the family farm.
Erin, 40, knows a thing or two about organization. The Markesan native and UW-Stevens Point graduate has a full-time job at the Department of Revenue, where she’s bureau director of tax operations. The bureau processes more than 7 million individual and business tax returns and documents each year.
Prime fleece generally comes from the body and is known as the blanket. Fleece filled with hay fragments and burs is unusable. Washing the fleece is futile to remove contaminants.
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