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What creature helps hemp grow and brings serious fun to the farm?

Hint: It’s not a llama.

A herd of irresistible alpacas are attracting attention on social media — and they’re bringing the hemp farm they call home into the spotlight with them, reports the Denver Post.

Stock Photo | Not an actual member of the Miraflora Naturals herd.

On the Alpacas Hemping TikTok you’ll witness baby alpaca kisses, watch the herd frolicking in the meadow and hear them riff on The Real Housewives. (“I’ve got four legs, but only one life. And I’m gonna live it to the fullest.”) The account has garnered more than 267,000 “likes,” and 7,350 followers.

But Talisman, Jackson Hole, Merlin, Irish Whiskey and the rest of the alpaca squad do more than prance around eating grass. On the Miraflora Naturals farm in Boulder, Colorado, their most valued contribution is something the Miraflora team calls “alpaca gold.”

Yep, manure. To fertilize the 160-acre hemp farm.

On the Miraflora Naturals farm in Boulder, Colorado, the alpacas' most valued contribution is something the Miraflora team calls “alpaca gold.”

Miraflora Naturals makes CBD everything — drinks, gummies, tinctures, topicals, dog chews, you get the idea — and alpaca gold is one of their not-so-secret secrets to success.

“Aside from our unique scientifically formulated products, we source our CBD from the most nutrient-dense soil in America (it’s fertilized by our alpaca herd—Merlin, Jackson Hole, and the gang),” they write on their site.

“Alpacas are great for fertilizer,” Miraflora’s co-owner and chief operating officer, Brent Facchinello, told the Denver Post. When his cousin, Christopher Wynne, acquired the farm in 2019, they chose alpacas for their high-nitrogen manure, a natural and organic fertilizer.

So, how exactly does it work?

“It’s tempting to imagine Irish Whiskey and the crew galavanting through rows of lush hemp plants,” writes reporter Tiney Ricciardi for the Denver Post, “sprinkling what Facchinello calls ‘alpaca gold’ as they go.”

But that’s usually not the case. Instead, the alpacas have a 10-acre field on which to graze. As it turns out, the raw “gold” doesn’t come near the growing fields.

The alpacas do get an occasional, leashed walk through the hemp fields, Ricciardi notes. And if they wish to gaze as they graze, the Flatirons — an iconic series of rock formations near Boulder — offer a striking view.

Returning to the point, there’s a system for turning manure into fertilizer. And Facchinello doesn’t hold back on the details.

“Alpacas are kind of like cats,” he told the Post. “They only go to the bathroom in one spot. It makes it very easy to collect [manure] and get it back into the soil through those means.”

He and the other farmhands compost the manure, allowing it to biodegrade into rich soil. Then they spread it on the fields as needed.

“The process adds to the overall ethos of the sustainable farm Miraflora is trying to create,” writes Ricciardi, noting that the certified organic farm also minimizes water use with drip irrigation and is installing solar panels to generate electricity on site.

Facchinello and Wynne might have chosen the alpacas for their manure, but the charming creatures have brought fun and a bit of fame to the farm. The alpacas have dedicated pages on the Miraflora website. One says, “The Alpaca Show: Let's face it…This is why you’re here.”

What's a human to do but embrace it?

“In any business you have faces of the business,” Facchinello told the Post, “the alpacas are becoming the face of Miraflora.”

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