— The Alpaca Street Team

All messages by user: starvalleyalpacas

Is it time to change the focus from Shows??

Posts: 1
I just had an interesting email exchange from a farm I have seen advertised but do not know personally. Basically he is 6 years in the biz, has plenty of ribbons but no sales and the recent crash in prices has left him broke. I'm sure he is not the only one. One disheartening thing he did say is he has bags and bags of fleece.....Is that not what alpacas are raised for??
I realize I may be in the minority. I use 95% of the fleece from my animals to be made into products that I sell during open farms, farmers markets and craft shows. I joined NAAFP and send them 2/3rd's of my fleece to get products from them, send 1/3 to a mill for yarn, the leg and belly fiber is made into rugs and what is left over I sell to fly fisherman. No one told me about ANY of it when I got into this industry. I found out from other farmers who quickly realized, like myself, that the show ring is heavily stacked against the small guy and AOBA does not care. I too have yet to sell an animal. I have tried to auction off a couple here, but when you cannot even get an opening bid of $500 on a TB Full Peruvian male or $2000 for a rose gray Snowmass female, what am I left to think ?
I tell prospective buyers if they are looking for the days of 20, 30, even 40K an animal sale to not waste their time, even if they have more money than sense. It's over. The ones who are most interested in my animals now are ones, like me, who see the income derived form the products themselves. That is what we as an industry need to do to survive, or as the gentleman I was emailing said, we will have fleece covered Ostriches.
I will not renew with AOBA. I do not register all of my Males with ARI either unless I use them to stud. I will if a buyer requests. I do not see the need for it. It perpetuates the Show Ring myth. What we do need is a split from AOBA for those like me who could care less about the show ring and want to focus on growing the product side. That has REAL growth potential. Is there anyone else out there who also thinks this way?? Any one else with me on this??