by Glen Pfefferkorn for the SouthWest Washington Llama Association newsletter
The Education Sessions
About 70 alpaca and llama owners gathered March 7, 2015, at Magruder Hall on the Oregon State Campus for a day of learning and updates on the latest research. Dr. Julie Dechant, UC Davis, kicked off the conference with a general session sharing the latest in camelid research. Registrants then selected one of three concurrent sessions to attend.
The fiber option, coordinated by Eric Hoffman, Bonney Doon Alpacas, Santa Cruz, California, offered sessions on fiber production, harvesting, processing, marketing and end products. Northwest shearers discussed expectations when a shearer arrives at the ranch. Local owners shared ideas about various end products and others discussed marketing options. The Pacific Northwest Llama Fiber Cooperative reviewed its experience and success.
Others chose to update themselves on various issues from alternative therapies, reproductive challenges, critical cria care, geriatric care and broken bones and abscesses. Dr. Ahmed Tibary, Washington State University was featured in this track.
The final choice included two sessions of Camelid 101, parasites, pasture management and nutrition. This section featured Eliza Trickett, Regional Representative for Mazuri Feed. Mazuri was a $1,000 corporate sponsor of the event in addition to donating 12 bags of premium alpaca pellets for the Fundraiser. Eliza explained nutrition requirements and benefits from pellet supplements. Drs. Scot Lubbers, Brush Prairie, WA, and Paul Jones, Woodburn Vet Clinic addressed topics of interest to beginning owners. Dr. Lubbers spoke about fences, housing and medication. Dr. Jones talked about breeding, birthing and babies.
The Early Evening Reception
At 5:30, after the learning sessions ended, a Fundraising Reception was held in the Lobby of the Veterinary College. This was an alternative fundraiser from the sit-down banquet held for the previous twenty five years. Hors d’oeuvres of smoked salmon, Willamette Valley cheese, crudite platter with ranch and hummus, spinach and artichoke dip with sliced baguette, Marion berry streusel bars and meatballs was offered with wine and beer.
Besides conference participants, various OSU Vet College staff and registrants of the International Camelid Health Conference were present as guests of the NWCF President. Thirteen states, Germany, and the UK were represented among the ICHC veterinarians. Silent auction items were available to peruse and bid on during the Reception.
At 6:30, after introduction of event volunteers, newly appointed College Dean Dr. Susan Tornquist was introduced and presented a signed, numbered print of a Desert Roadrunner which turned out to be her favorite bird from her days in the Southwest. After brief comments she introduced Dr. Chris Cebra, Chair, Department of Biomedical Sciences and G. Pfefferkorn/M. Wendorf Professor of Camelid Medicine.
Dr. Cebra’s presentation, “30 Years of Camelid Research at OSU” was well received. His first slide “Where it all began” mentioned the first gathering of llama owners in the Willamette Valley in 1986 and included a copy of the first Newsletter distributed by the Willamette Valley Llama Association dated April 1986. His presentation was a walk down memory lane for owners present who attended that first meeting or joined the community shortly thereafter. He mentioned our rally on the Capitol steps in Salem with llamas which helped persuade the legislature to save the vet college from elimination during budget cuts.
Several (now retired) staff members and veterinarians were remembered. Two members, critical to those early camelid days on campus, Drs. Brad Smith and Karen Timm were present for the presentation. His final slide “What We Have Done Since 1986” clearly set out the fact that Oregon State, with the support from Willamette Valley and Southwest Washington camelid owners, has published more scientific articles than any other university with a camelid program.
Kirk Gresham, auction announcer, Monte Mesing, Auctioneer, and Kelley Marchbanks, OSU Vet College Director of Development, (aka Vanna White), then took over the floor for the oral auction fundraiser. Some items offered for auction included: Mazuri Feed Pellets, Quality Llama Products portable feeder, Frank watering station, vintage Brush ceramic cookie jar, COLA Festival Package, Les Schwab battery, Alpaca Magazine advertising, Calvin DeJong original metal art, waterford crystal, a week end in Las Vegas and Sea Glass Art from Maine.
Medical books authored by well respected veterinarians drew spirited bidding and raised just under $1,100. Drs. Norm Evans, Missouri; Ahmed Tibary, WSU; LaRue Johnson, CO; and OSU’S Chris Cebra had made donations to promote research. For those present, all of the authors were in attendance and available for a photo or to make a personalized inscription.
High selling item of the evening was two tickets to an OSU football game in the “by invitation only” Valley Endzone Skybox. This includes front door shuttle service, hot buffet, drinks and snacks, pre and post game shows with President Ed Ray, coaches and players. The winning bidder paid $1,000 for this opportunity. The winners will attend as guests of Dean Tornquist, Glen Pfefferkorn and Morris Wendorf.
The evening ended with a paddle raise. This provides an opportunity to make a fully tax deductible donation with the mere raise of a bid number. Generous donors contributed $7,820.
The eventful day ended with preliminary numbers showing about $17,000 in the coffers for investment in additional alpaca and llama medical research.