John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-394-3790
503-551-7219 (cell)
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Alpacas as an Investment

Alpacas have been recognized for their investment potential, even by non-farmers. Traditionally this was done through agisting, but the industry is now seeing the rise of syndicates and other non-farm investment opportunities

Some people may choose to invest funds in alpacas without taking a direct role in the farm activities. In the current breeder's market this has traditionally been done through agisting. More recently though, the alpaca industry has seen the emergence of syndicates with ownership of a superior herd sire, or even entire herds being held by small groups of investors seeking returns through the herd's growth and sale.

Agisting is simply the practice of purchasing an alpaca and boarding it on someone else's farm. The owner takes responsibility for breeding decisions and liability of loss, and generally pays boarding fees of $2-4 per day. A variant of agisting has emerged wherein some alpaca farms are "leasing" their females. In this scenario the lessee is gambling that the offspring will be a female, thus ensuring either a significant return on their lease costs, or a lower cost entry into the alpaca industry

It is likely that both of these practices will fade away when the cost of boarding or leasing exceeds the value of the offspring.

Superior alpaca herd sires have enjoyed multiple ownership for some time. A more recent phenomenon has been the emergence of syndicates pooling their resources to purchase top quality sires. This is analogous to what takes place in the high end horse markets. Superior male alpacas have sold for as much as $500,000 at auction, the only place where reliable figures can be attained. These investors expect to recoup their investment and profit from the sale of outside breeding fees, or the sale of female alpacas bred to these elite herd sires.

The alpaca industry has recently seen the emergence of syndicates purchasing entire herds of alpacas. The goal of these groups is to maintain the herd for a specified period of time and then sell the original alpacas and all of their offspring at a profit.

As the industry matures it is likely that the only non-farm investment opportunities will lie in herdsire ownership, or investing in a "corporate" farm. Careful analysis suggests that other practices such as agisting, leasing and syndicated herd ownership are based on the breeder market economy.

 
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"A stout man in an alpaca jacket and panama hat was seated on the bare lawn, his back to the sun, reading a newspaper. He tried in vain to avoid the glare of the sun on his reading..."

D.H. Lawrence
The Trespasser
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