2022/2023 Alpaca Owners Guide

industry. "People who expect to succeed in this livestock industry

must run it like the business that it is," said Connie. "Keep focused on your goals and pay attention to cash flow and expenses. It is important to not go into debt in case things don't turn out. From the beginning, we were prepared for "worst case scenarios." The Betts have been running their alpaca business for more than 10 years. They earned their return on investment within two years, and now have increased their revenue every year except one during the recession when revenue was flat. "From the beginning, we knew our focus would be on fiber and other revenue streams, such as boarding alpacas, and not as much on the selling of alpacas," said Connie, "and we focused our business plan on that. Be cause of our focus and ability to stay on track with our mission, we are now known for the fineness of our fiber, and we often run out of yarn before our season ends in October!" The alpacas, including alpacas boarded at their ranch by other individuals, and their yarn shop are full-time jobs for the Thomases. Be prepared for change. Beth Osborne ofThe Alpaca Hacien da in Temecula, California, originally entered the alpaca industry concentrating solely on the breeding of high-end breed stock.

Photo courtesy of Ten Seven Acres

the farm for felting days, where we create items to sell in the store," said Osborne. "We've begun making nuno scarves, which shoppers have come to expect. Around the holidays, they sell like hotcakes!"  Becoming Part of an Agricultural Community Joining organizations focused on the alpaca and livestock in dustry offers countless resources to help ensure a successful alpaca ownership. Alpaca Owners Association, Inc. (AOA), re gional affiliates, FFA, 4-H, State Farm Bureaus, County and State Visitors Associations, and County Agricultural Extension offices can provide access to local resources. Check your state for your own associations. Everything about the care of any livestock is easier when you have help and support to guide you in the proper direction instead of reinventing the wheel on your own. AOA, headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska, serves as the national livestock association for alpacas in North America. As the largest alpaca association in the world, AOA facilitates the expansion of a strong and sustainable alpaca industry through the tracking of bloodlines, registration and transfer of alpacas, Expected Progeny Differences (EPD) program, national educa tional outreach, the national show system, marketing, public relations, and its highly respected judges training program.

Osborne's focus today is to be an asset to her community by providing jobs, hosting com munity events and tours, and providing community service hours to high school students. Osborne also concentrates on her farm store where she sells handcrafted alpaca fiber products. She also cares for alpacas other owners board at her ranch, which provides additional income. "I have built a family of boarders and we gather at

People who expect to succeed in this livestock industry must run it like the business that it is. Connie Betts, Oregon alpaca breeder

24 | ALPACA OWNERS GUIDE 2022/2023

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