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

 

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

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.

 

What Color is Your Alpaca?

Alpacas of Anza ValleyFor Alpaca Enthusiasts that are new to the business, would you like to know some of the lingo? I remember when I was new and I felt like breeders were speaking a different language. They kept using abbreviations and making assumptions that I understood what they meant. In the beginning I didn’t even know where to go to get a translation. This was especially evident when someone was describing an alpaca’s color. So here is a list of the 16 natural fiber colors represented by the Alpaca Registry (ARI) used on the ARI certificate that shows the pedigree of each registered alpaca. These colors are the standard abbreviations used for suris and huacayas, and when placing alpacas in all the show classes.

 

ARI Natural Fiber Colors & Chart Codes LSG Light Silver Grey
W White LB Light Brown MSG Medium Silver Grey
B Beige MB Medium Brown DSG Dark Silver Grey
LF Light Fawn DB Dark Brown LRG Light Rose Grey
MF Medium Fawn BB Bay Black MRG Medium Rose Grey
DF Dark Fawn TB True Black DRG Dark Rose Grey

Registration Tips

When you register your new alpaca make sure that you follow the guidelines that ARI provides for selecting the best color match. It is best to order a Color Chart from the ARI website: www.AlpacaRegistry.com. Here’s a quote from ARI on the way to use the color chart. “When identifying the color of an alpaca’s fleece, take a clip of fiber as close to the skin as possible. Match the cut end to the closest color on the fiber chart. If the color matches a shade, record this match. If you find the color is darker than one shade but lighter than the next, it should always be categorized with the darker shade.”

If your alpaca has more than one color present on the body, head or legs, there is a place on the registration for you to note that. When checking the color for the body, use the side in the midsection portion about 4 – 6 inches below the midline.

Color Checkers at a Show

Of course, for the show, the Color Checker will use the chart next to the skin with the fleece still attached. Sometimes the color checker will come up with a different color than the one on the ARI certificate. If you question that decision, you have an opportunity to be seen by a judge before they start the show. The judge will always have the final say. Just ask the checker when that will be done and arrange to have a neutral party take your alpaca to the judge.

Just thought that you’d like to know some of the insider info…