“So what do you do with a yak?” This is probably the first question that we all get after “Is that a buffalo in your pasture?” Once you establish the fact that no, those beautiful animals aren’t buffalo, but Tibetan yak, people immediately want to know why we raise them, and what they are good for. So, the conversation starts rolling along and we, as breeders, spend most of the rest of the conversation discussing the fact that in addition to these animals being aesthetically handsome, they are easy and fun to raise, and that yak truly fall into what we call “ an end use livestock model.”
Wini was on fire again this year during the IYAK Winter Conference at the NWSS. Her seminar was clear, deep and thorough. Packed with information, innovation and practical instructions. What a knowledgable and great speaker and mentor! IYAK is very grateful to have such an enthusiastic expert dedicated to the yak fiber experience. She says we’re stuck with her. I say: Hallelujah!
All entries must contain at least 50% yak fiber and must include a 3x5 card containing the following information: Fiber content and percentage; preparation and intended use; construction techniques…Skeins - clean, properly skeined and tied, notation of yardage and/or weight, blocked if necessary. Fiber Arts - clean, blocked and finished with no threads hanging, visual appeal, notation of technique and or production methods.
Wholesome Milk, Great cheese, tasty meat, and Stunning Fiber
The first yaks were brought to the U.S. in the late 19th century. Today, Colorado boasts the highest population of yaks in the nation, with 78 breeders at last count, according to the International Yak Association (IYAK). The environment is ideal since yaks thrive in cool, high-altitude climates; their thick hides offer protection from the extreme cold of the Himalaya and they’re adept at foraging for food beneath the snow. They also require about one third to one half less feed than beef cattle. To learn more, visit IYak.org.
This year, Brad and Jandy Sprouse celebrate 33 years of raising and breeding livestock as their sole occupation and chosen lifestyle on Great Lakes Ranch in northwestern Michigan.
The ranch is the manifestation of their dream to raise livestock in a peaceful, rural setting. Their tale begins in 1981 when the Sprouse's purchased their first llama, and three years later they brought home their first alpaca.