TEN Tips to Extra Income with Alpacas – Part 1

Kommander show blanket & fleece still on legs 5-11 pt1Alpacas need to be shorn in the spring before the weather and humidity become intense. The shearing process is not only healthy for your alpacas; it is a source of revenue for your business. If you prepare ahead of time and work with your shearer, you can get maximum return on your alpacas’ fleece.

In this photo you can see that we laid an extra large piece of plastic along side the alpaca’s body so that we could collect the blanket portion in one piece. We did this first before we sheared any other part of his body.

This post explores numerous ideas to make some income while you’re letting your herd grow. Your goal should be to achieve some extra revenue whether you have a small fiber herd or you are starting a breeding business.

Below you will find a list of a few possibilities:

1. Locate a local spinning guild and invite them to shearing day to help and purchase raw fiber.

2. Offer hand spinners the first choice of the raw fiber once it is bagged.

3. Locate local fiber artists and invite them to the ranch to feel your fiber. Show them the different grades of fiber and introduce them to creative ideas of how to use alpaca fiber in crafts projects.

4. Send some of your best fleece to mini-mills and have it converted into beautiful yarn. Introduce your yarn at “Farmer’s Markets”, Craft Faires & Country Festivals.

5. Knit, crochet, felt or weave accessories out of alpaca yarn and start a small farm/ranch Boutique, or take them to the “Markets” & “Faires.”

Here’s a link to our web store. We have it linked through our Ranch Home Page: http://alpacasav.com/alpaca-boutique/

[Side note: Even though I live in a warm & sunny climate, I’m still successful selling my yarn and hand made items at local Faires & Open Aire Markets especially from September through April. The rest of the year I devote to making more items to sell.]

So, with a modest initial investment, you could easily bring in several thousand dollars during the eight months of the year that you are promoting your alpaca items.

It’s a good plan to spend the other months creating items to sell. Or fix up your place so that you can invite the public to see your alpacas and take tours.

These are just a few ideas to get you started thinking about the potential for your situation. In the next post I will continue to explore other possible ways to bring in revenue with your alpaca business.

Julie

PS: Do you have an idea that you would like to share? Please post your comments below.

TEN Tips to Extra Income with Alpacas – Part 2

In the last post I listed 5 possible ways that you could generate some revenue from your alpaca fiber whether you had a large herd or just a few fiber boys.

In this post, I will Open Aire Marketshare some additional ways to use your fiber and the manure.

6. Contribute a portion of your fiber yield to a Co-Op in exchange for ready made alpaca products to sell in your Boutique or at the “Markets.” If you don’t have a large quantity of fleece in your first few years, then find other alpaca breeders who wish to combine fiber to get a better return from the Co-Ops.

7. Set-up Open Houses at your place, or join in with other farms/ranches that hold them. Display and sell your alpaca items as you educate the public about the virtues of alpaca fiber.

8. Set up in-home parties and take your alpaca items to other people’s homes or offices. This works especially well around the holidays and in colder climates.

9. Set up an online virtual store through one of the major outlet websites. We use Amazon.com because they offer so many varieties of products to choose from. They also make it very easy to set up your virtual store. They pay an affiliate commission regularly.

10. Another idea that is unique to alpacas because of the nature of the way they digest their feed source. Invite local organic gardeners to pick up alpaca manure. They can either pay you in dollars or barter with the fruits of their labors.

Even with a small herd, you can accumulate enough manure to support several gardens. Our “Poop” is referred to as “Alpaca Gold!” We fill (using a tractor) several Pick-up trucks every month. In the beginning with less than a dozen alpacas, we used to shovel it in sand bags and sell it that way.

Some alpaca ranches make an alpaca tea “liquid soil amendment”. Be sure that you comply with any health regulations. Check your local area and agriculture extension for suggestions on what you can say or print and what would require special licenses.

I was advised not to call our bagged manure “fertilizer” or “compost” due to the local restrictions and regulations. Throughout the year we support the local nursery with the best “soil amendments” possible. Just think about what you could do in your area!

I hope that these 2 posts have given you food for thought about the potential for income with an alpaca business.

[Perhaps you have a special skill that could incorporate the use of alpaca fiber or manure to create some extra revenue for you. What an opportunity to share that with other alpaca enthusiasts as well. Please comment below and share your ideas on bringing in extra revenue.]

Julie & Don Roy own Alpacas of Anza Valley since 2004. They provide training, education and consulting to alpaca beginners, owners and breeders so that they become more successful, profitable and knowledgeable in the alpaca lifestyle. More than 50 alpacas call Alpacas of Anza Valley home at any one time. Come for a visit. Check out the website for more details. http://AlpacasAV.com

 

[Update] Section 179 Year-End Tax Planning for Alpacas

One Last Day in 2012

One last day to make a difference in your tax savings.

alpaca-brothersI found a news alert dated Dec 18, 2012 on the website Section179.org about some important tax planning implications updated for the 2012 tax year-end. Here is a reprint of a portion of it.

Even if you are not going to make a purchase today, I want you to think back about the purchases you have made over the year. There may be some qualified purchases in 2012 that you could claim for the Section 179 immediate deduction.

The main thing to remember is that alpacas qualify as used capital equipment even if you have only made a down payment so far this year. Other purchases you might have made to build your alpaca business could possibly qualify as well. To be sure, check with
your accountant about the details.

I just want you to have every advantage possible for your alpaca venture.

Here is the 12/18/12 article:

“Both the ‘Tax Relief Act of 2010′ as well as the ‘Jobs Act of 2010′ that passed in late 2010 affected Section 179 in a positive way for this 2012 tax year. Following are the highlights for the 2012 tax year:

To take advantage of this deduction, your Section 179 Qualified Financing and your equipment must be in place on or before December 31, 2012.

2012 Deduction Limit = $139,000
Section 179 Deduction limit after adjustment for inflation has increased to $139,000 (maximum allowance would have been only $25,000 prior to the new legislation).

2012 Limit on Capital Purchases = $560,000
Section 179 Threshold for total of equipment & software that can be purchased has increased to $560,000 (threshold would have been only $200,000 prior to the new legislation).

2012 Bonus Depreciation = 50%
The new law allows 50% “Bonus Depreciation” on qualified assets placed in service during 2012

Section 179 Deduction is available for most new and used capital equipment, and also includes certain software.

Bonus Depreciation can be taken on new equipment only (no used equipment, no software)

When  applying these provisions, Section 179 is generally taken first,  followed by Bonus Depreciation – unless the business has no taxable profit in 2012.”

Please Note:

Did you know that right now the projected 2013 Deduction Limit is sitting at $125,000 as the maximum amount you can deduct, and that’s going to fall to $25,000 in 2013. I really hope our leaders see that $25,000 just isn’t going to cut it and give Section 179 a nice bump up in 2013. They’ve done it before.

May you have an even better year ahead!! And if you haven’t started your alpaca venture, may 2013 be the year that you make your dreams come true. I’ll be here to share with you more valuable information from the alpaca community.

All the best,

Julie

Julie Roy
951-763-4222 (Pacific time)
Julie@AlpacasNextDoor.com

ProfitingWithAlpacas.com
AlpacasAV.com

September 11th Miracle

Hi Alpaca Enthusiasts,

I have something a little different to share with you today – September 11, 2012.

Tears, destruction, clouds of dust. Firemen, policemen, paramedics, ordinary citizens – all heroes. These are the images forever tucked into the most delicate corners of our minds.

Where ever you were – what ever you were doing… It’s impossible to forget all the feelings associated with that day.

Like the sound of silence that seized family rooms across the country. Loved ones huddled together around TV news reports – just staring in disbelief at the devastation. And the serene, eerie feeling of the unknown about our future.

No doubt about it, on September 11, 2001, a nation changed. It was…

The Day America Came Together

No more Republicans, no more Democrats. No more sports rivalries. No more arguing and yelling “talking-heads” on TV.

Just a deep, dark somber feeling of shock, sorrow, confusion and empathy and love for our families and fellow men and women.

The enormous weight of the tragedy urged every American to reach out to anyone who’d left footprints on their heart. I know I did… I’m sure you made different choices that day too.

Amid all the stories that have been written about that day and the aftermath, I felt very inspired by the following story of one tiny symbol of hope amid all the destruction.

A Small Miracle Among the Rubble

“In October of 2001, one month into the clearing of the debris, a 30-year old Callery pear tree was discovered.

It was badly burned, and had but one living branch. But the 8-foot tall stump of a pear tree, nonetheless, was still alive.

Soon the tree, covered in ash, was moved to a nursery in the Bronx where it wasn’t expected to survive.

But in the spring of 2002, that Callery pear tree now deemed “The Survivor Tree” showed new growth. And it continued to grow in its new home for years, even when temporarily uprooted during a storm.

In December of 2010, at a new height of 30 feet, “The Survivor Tree” was replanted at the World Trade Center memorial.

Keating Crown, who escaped the 100th floor of the South Tower before it collapsed, said of the miracle pear tree:

‘It reminds us all of the capacity of the human spirit to persevere.’

We depend on the capacity of the human spirit to persevere. It’s vital to our success as a people, a nation, and a globe that we keep on moving forward.

Despite heartache, despite destruction, despite tragedy…”

Times are somewhat different today than they were following 9/11; with some new struggles and new crises. I started my professional coaching certification that week and immediately jumped into the new crises at hand serving my clients.

As I look back, that’s when the seed of a new lifestyle planted itself in me. Though it took another two years to start the action that would later become our “Alpaca Lifestyle”, I relate to the story of “The Survivor Tree” in a very deep way.

So, wherever you are on your “Alpaca Lifestyle Path” remember the callery pear tree and the spirit to persevere.

Thanks for reading, and take care on this special day.

Your Alpaca Friend,

Julie Roy

Small Alpaca Farm with Big Returns

Recently the news endorsed the numerous benefits of raising alpacas as an investment. And for people who need tax deductions, it is a sensible venture that can earn them a huge ROI (return on investment) over time. Yet, that’s not the whole story. (CBS SUNDAY MORNING – http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7403164n)

Let me ask you a few questions. Are you looking for a small farm business with big returns? Have you researched all the agricultural benefits of raising livestock on your land? Have you considered raising sheep, goats, or cattle in order to take advantage of the benefits? Have you hesitated to proceed?

Well, if you are like me (a city dweller until 2004) the thought of killing something, milking something or cleaning up after big animals stopped me in my tracks! So we never imagined ourselves as “farmers” until we met alpacas and the alpaca farm business idea launched.

The goal of many small farm businesses is to “just cover expenses.” We have been doing more than “just covering our expenses” with a handful of alpacas since our 3rd year in the business. And now, over 7 years of alpaca farming, we are living proof… you can have a small group of very clean, cute, amusing critters, make a small profit with a relatively tiny up-front investment and you can even take time off for a little travel, see the grandkids, or go to a show if that’s your goal.

Presently we live in the country, deduct our legitimate agricultural expenses, use depreciation and other tools to offset other income and lower our property taxes through agricultural classification of our land.

Can you name another livestock business where you can make a profit with less than 20 animals? Can you do this with alpacas? Absolutely!

Alpacas for Fun and Profit

After watching the show on March 25th entitled Alpacas for Fun and Profit on CBS SUNDAY MORNING – http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7403164n I realized how much I related to the story of Amber and her alpaca lifestyle. She got into the business just before the prices started dropping (fall 2007.) So instead of panicking, she took advantage of the high quality alpacas available at lower prices and grew her herd and her income potential. As she recounts, her income over a 5 month period was greater than she had made the 2 years previously in the theater.

In 2009 our situation turned to “creative solutions needed” in order to keep our business growing. We started promoting “multiple services” from our ranch. We offered agisting (board & care), breeding and birthing services. We got a main stud and started filling his dance card with introductory breedings which have now grown in number, demand and dollar amount per breeding. We also increased our internet presence and educational products offered.

Another income focus we started is to proudly display, retail and wear alpaca accessories made from our own alpacas. Visitors to our farm love the idea they can take a photo of the alpaca which contributed the fiber made into the luxurious scarf or hat. And we are not alone, as word is spreading; more small alpaca farms are setting up “cottage industry” outlets and reaping the benefits of raising this gentle livestock.

So, whether you are looking for a business with numerous tax benefits, agricultural savings for your land use, an outlet for your creativity, or just pure enjoyment… alpaca farming could be in your near future.

If you are already a part of our industry, then take this opportunity to review your situation and make sure you are taking advantage of all the alpaca farming deductions you are legitimately entitled to at this time. Then go out in your field and smile at your alpacas.

Alpacas as an Investment

If you are still wondering if investing in alpacas is a wise investment… consider the following article on Feb 4, 2012 from Smart Money Today.

Alpacas as an Investment

“You may have heard that Alpacas make a great investment because of their high annual yields of fiber and the lucrative income it can provide. But did you also know that the tax code makes offers for huge benefits to Alpaca owners?

Whether you’re an individual with the ability to raise an Alpaca for fiber on a small farm or breed alpacas to shear or sell on a larger area of land, the tax code is full of deductions that will make investing in an Alpaca even more profitable than many other forms of investment.

Section 179** of the tax code allows for taxpayers to begin claiming deductions for some capital assets, the things purchased as investments toward profits, as soon as they are purchased. Alpacas are among the limited number of purchased investments that are included in this section. These are benefits that you will not be eligible to receive if you put money toward a traditional investment opportunity, like buying stock or a CD.

If you own an Alpaca for over a year, it is subject to capital gains tax, like most other investments. Capital gains are profits from an investment that has been resold. Your initial livestock will be subject to this provision if you sell them, as will any offspring from your livestock.

At the end of the day, Alpacas are a form of investment that offer significant and unique tax deductions that will start benefitting you as an investor right away. As long as you keep them, you won’t need to pay capital gains taxes, so Alpacas can be a great long-term investment opportunity. Or, if you choose to sell them, take the profit and pay the capital gains taxes on the sale, you still come out ahead—you will have accumulated enough tax benefits between the time of purchase and the sale to compensate for paying livestock capital gains taxes on your Alpacas.”

Add to all of this that alpacas are 100% insurable. Can stocks do all of this?

(Make sure that you consult a tax advisor for specifics as they relate to you.)

**February 8th, 2012 – The “Tax Relief Act of 2010″ and the “Jobs Act of 2010″ had a substantial positive impact on Section 179 for the 2012 Tax Year – below is quoted from “section179.org”:

  • 2012 Deduction Limit – $139,000
  • 2012 Limit on Capital Purchases – $560,000
  • 2012 Bonus Depreciation – extended the 50% bonus depreciation on qualified assets placed in service during 2012

© Copyright 2012 Smart Money Today All Rights Reserved

The Natural Alpaca Fiber Winners 2011

What a treat for the eyes and imagination! Take a look at the photos of the winners of this years Natural Fiber Showcase in the International Camelid Quarterly.

From over 150 entries and 7,000 votes by the general public, the winning entries in the Fashion, Art & Utility categories are featured. Each beautiful photo also includes an explanation by the artist of the techniques they used to create the product.

I got some good ideas of what I could do with some of my fiber… How about you?

Click the following link and enjoy the beautiful, creative items made with natural alpaca fiber.  Natural Fiber Product Showcase winners.

Midwest Alpacas for Sale

As with every business, retirement is inevitable. These females are the best and the last of a well established herd. The owner, a long-time leader in our industry and I just had another talk about the details on these beautiful females. She has been so reluctant to let them go that I know that is why they are still available. However, she is willing to sweeten this offer and pay for the board and care for up to two full months. That way you can take ownership now and take some time to get your farm ready for them. She is finally willing to let her gorgeous girls go to a new home.

Shorn on 4/11

This is a high quality 4 in 1 package (3 females ready to breed and a yearling female) from the Midwest . What an opportunity to get retained fineness from this line at a ridiculously low price!

http://Alpacas4Less.com/BSA024.htm

Females of this caliber and consistency do not come along for sale very often. These beautiful ladies are ready to be transported to your farm right away or in the near future.

If you are even the slightest bit interested in adding great genetics from Full Peruvians, Full Accoyos, the likes of Caligula, Vengador, Camilio, Hemingway, 4Peruvian Legacy, 5Peruvian Chaccu and Crescent Moon’s Titanium then you owe it to yourself to check it out and see what’s available.

The statistics from the histograms (fiber characteristics) are included. If you need help understanding why this is an exceptional group of females… just contact me and I’ll be happy to interpret the results for you.

http://Alpacas4Less.com/BSA024.htm

It’s on a first come first served basis and this is the perfect time to start your alpaca business, or add to your existing herd with great genetics, great dispositions, great fleece and just all-around great girls at great prices.

 

Ten Tips to Happy Alpacas

Alpacas can adapt to the heat of our summer days as long as they have cooler nights to recover. When nighttime temperatures stay in the upper eighties, this tends to create an accumulated effect and gives reason to take special precautions to avoid heat stress.

Alpacas Love Water

Another point to keep in mind pertains to high humidity when coupled with high temperatures. When you combine the temperature and the percentage of humidity you get a “heat index value.” A value over 120 degrees can be extremely stressful and gives grounds for taking additional safety measures.

For happy alpacas keep these ten tips in mind.

1)    Always shear your alpacas as a first line of defense in hot weather. We set up our shearing day with our shearer a year in advance and make a fun event out of the day. If you only have a few alpacas, then consider joining your herd with another established herd. Many alpaca farms set-up cooperative shearing days with other local farms.

2)    Always provide plenty of cool water to drink throughout the day. We put extra water buckets out along the fence line in the shade during the hottest months of the summer. Keep them full of fresh water and remove the algae which may grow in the buckets. If you use automatic waterers be sure to keep them free of accumulated “gunk!”

3)    Always provide a shady area for them to rest. Even though they may choose to lie in the full sun and “sunbathe” they will move into the shade to cool off part of the day. Keep some of their food source in the shade as well if you can.

4)    Provide a large industrialized fan & misters in the areas where they congregate when the temperatures rise. If you have a swamp cooler, you may notice how they cush right in front of the cool air source.

5)    Provide free choice mineral salts in small feeders around the hay source. We use Stillwater Minerals brand of the Lama-Min 104. This is specially formulated for alpacas. www.StillwaterMinerals.com

6)    Discuss with your vet or other breeders the type of electrolytes to add to their water source. We use a “Cherry” flavored powder that we add to every-other water bucket. That way they can self choose if they wish to drink it or not. Some people mix a Gatorade Powder with water to a strength of ¼ the recommended amount on the label. Be sure to mix a fresh batch every day as it spoils quickly.

7)    Do not breed your males in the heat of the day, they could become overheated and go temporarily sterile. If you choose to breed during the summer months, then breed early or later in the day.

8)    If you have new born cria, be sure to monitor the cria’s nursing behavior.  They can easily become dehydrated during the warmest part of the day. Observe how often they nurse and get underneath their mom. The rule of thumb is every hour to two is normal. Every half-hour is suspect for poor milk production and every 10 – 15 minutes means there is probably something wrong and you need to intervene to determine how serious. As the cria gets older, they will start to eat hay and may be nursing less often. Just observe the routine and check out anything that appears unusual.

9)    Provide extra hosing of their legs & bellies with cool water. My girls come running to my hose when I announce “Shower time Girls”… shower time!” Just keep the water accumulation off their backs where it could create an increased humid condition and raise their heat stress level.

10)    If you must transport or keep the alpacas in an enclosed area, be sure to provide air circulation. Some transporters run air conditioned units in the big trailers, others just have open windows.

So in conclusion, I hope these tips helped you think about the ways you can keep your alpacas comfortable during the hottest part of the summer day. Please feel free to share these tips with your fellow alpaca breeders. I also invite you to post your tips to the comment section of our:  www.ProfitingWithAlpacas.com

Here’s to you and your alpacas enjoying a wonderful summer.