— The VAOBA Team

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History of VAOBA

Back in March of 2005, Virginia’s alpaca industry was pretty quiet; we had over 150 farms, even a few nationally known, but very little networking or organization.  It seemed a great way to put Virginia’s industry “on the map” would be to organize an official affiliate of the national association – then AOBA – and work toward a sanctioned annual show as a fundraiser, using those funds to create educational opportunities for members and the public. 

Also, an official association provides a unified voice for the industry when issues must be addressed, such as the onerous, unnecessary health testing that was required at the time for alpacas coming into our state.

With that in mind, a group of farmers in Central Virginia organized to become the founding board of VAOBA.  By the end of May, we had established our Virginia and IRS 501(c)(5) non-profit entity, secured our affiliate approval from AOBA, and held our first membership meeting - with the head of VDACS as our speaker - at what is now the State Fair mansion in Doswell.  Nearly 90 farms from all over the state attended, 86 signed up and VAOBA was on its way.

2006 saw our first show – outdoors at Deep Run Equestrian center; it was a hit, and provided a treasury for many, varied educational seminars, and this tradition continues. 

Virginia Alpaca Farm Days were proclaimed by our Governor to coincide with the national days, and VAOBA was successful in having the expensive testing requirements changed so that the expense for alpacas coming into our state and to our show was cut by about 2/3. 

A strong, organized Association existing for the benefit of Virginia’s farmers provides industry education, advocacy and networking, and remains the best “nerve center” for our state industry.