John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-551-7219 (cell)
Alpaca Farming
Alpaca Industry
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Alpaca Business Overview

Even though there exists a high demand for alpacas, it takes the same skills required of any other business venture to make money. These skills include marketing, budgeting, and salesmanship.

Before purchasing an alpaca with the intent of "making money", it is very important to thoroughly research the industry, and to have a business plan.

There are a number of resources available for those wanting to start an alpaca business. We highly recommend SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) which offers free assistance for entrepreneurs. We have found them to be brutally honest in challenging assumptions a new business owner might make. A few nights in the library will reveal many other resources.

Anyone entering the alpaca industry should begin with a clear vision of where they are headed. There are many niches that can be filled. Questions a prospective alpaca owner should answer include:

  • What traits am I going to breed for?
  • Where and how will I market myself and my alpacas?
  • How will I sell the fleece my alpacas produce?
  • What level of risk am I willing to take with the money I am thinking of investing?
  • What additional services might I offer from my alpaca farm?

Marketing expenses are an area that many new alpaca breeders forget to budget for. Remember, alpacas are a business. New alpaca owners should always start with an idea of how they will market themselves. There is not a lot of material specific to marketing alpacas that is available. It is difficult to ascertain exactly who makes up the consumer base.

Owners must also maintain sufficient cash reserves to operate their business, including breeding fees, insurance, vet bills and other expenses.

Our experience is that prospective alpaca owners tend to ask the wrong questions. Questions such as, "How long will alpaca prices remain so high?" There are no definite answers to these questions. The alpaca market has remained strong for almost 20 years. It is expected to remain strong for the foreseeable future.

However, the national herd size is growing, and we can expect some settling of the market at some point in the future.

It is likely that there will remain a demand for high quality alpaca breeding stock well after prices drop for the average alpaca. These are risks that must be weighed by any prospective alpaca breeder.

We will cover some important questions that the prospective owner might ask on other pages in this section. 

Feel free to contact us to talk about how alpacas might fit into your life.

Alpaca Sales

"Then five policemen in black alpaca frock-coats and white trousers invaded my precarious privacy, desiring to see my passport..."

- Isabella Bird
Unbeaten Tracks in Japan
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