What better time to recount our experiences than the beginning of a new year? When we consider the gratification of the alpaca livestock business that Frank and I started in 2006, we wonder how we can slow down each passing month so that the next seven years won’t fly by as rapidly as the last.
Our years in this business have been filled to the brim with experiences and learning we didn’t know existed. I traded human doctors for our great veterinarian; nursing magazines to alpaca publications; lecturing about care of the surgical patient to seminars on anything alpaca; and packing suitcases for packing a trailer. I didn’t trade the boots. After all, twenty years in Texas left me with quite an array of boots that have remained a mainstay in my wardrobe. As a fellow alpaca owner said to me “you didn’t have any idea how smart you would get until you starting raising alpaca.” That eye opening statement made me take stock in how much we have learned in a short time. The truth is, our conversations aren’t what one would consider enlightening cocktail conversation, but it is fulfilling to have developed an understanding of agriculture, animal husbandry and livestock business practices that gives us a secure and comfortable feeling with our own business decisions as well as helping others.
We started with four and now have over 170 alpaca grazing our property. The foundation of our business plan was to own, breed and sell alpaca and to yield an ongoing dual crop of offspring and fiber. We find those two commodities continue developing as we do the same with our understanding of thebusiness. We’ve benefitted from our education, research, skill development and leadership strengths – and little did we realize the extent of need and application. Like others who started in this business about the same time, we were hit by an economic slump that was not in our plan. So as we venture into 2014, our commitment and dedication to the herd, our boarders, customers, employees, acquaintances and each other is strengthened by the knowledge that the industry is developing differently than perceived when we developed our business plan, but is consistent with our realization that the hurdles and bridges are great opportunities.
Any business that is ever-changing can be exciting! Frank and I hope to share our ventures with you and continue our events on the Ranch that will educate and interest others who want to join the forces of alpaca ownership.