- If they wished their customers learned one thing about fiber processing, what would that be?
- What steps can fiber producers take before sending their fiber off for processing that would save them money?
- How important is a good shearing job when it comes to fiber processing?
- Will they give you feedback or contact you if they feel, based on their experience, that the quality of the fiber identified for a certain type of processing is not what it should be for that product?
- Do they feel there is a use for all fiber?
- What is included in each service they list? This may already be answered in their price list.
- What is their turnaround time?
- Are the prices based on the weight of the fiber coming in or the weight after processing? This may also be in the price list.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Alpaca Customization – How to Make Alpacas Pay Their Way
Both mini-mills and fiber pools/cooperatives are processing options. You will need to determine which best fit your needs. If you are new to the world of fiber processing, use the Internet to research and explore various sites. Many provide extensive information on how to prepare your fiber for processing, and you will also learn a specific fiber art vocabulary that will be helpful when working with a mill. A simple search of alpaca and llama fiber processors will bring up more than 7,000 sites.
Llama and alpaca farms are deal for agri-tourism opportunities. Field trips and farm tours provide you with an opportunity to educate as well as earn money. You could also contact a tour operator in your area and have your farm included in the bus tour they offer. Produce a farm brochure and place it in local chamber of commerce locations or nearby highway rest areas (check with your state tourism department for permission).
Many states have special agri-tourism programs that can provide you with help-and sometimes even grants. Check with the agriculture, tourism, and economic development agencies in your state. Your local County Extension Office or Farm Bureau often has information on these programs and can help point the way to the agency that best fits your needs. A number of states also offer programs to promote made in their state items. See if your products could be a part of their promotional packages.
You can also earn money by performing public relations activities for many types of businesses and individuals. Business grand openings and anniversary celebrations generate much more excitement when llamas or alpacas are involved. We bring our alpacas to the college orientation and parents usually buy products for their kids.
Good Business Practices
Provide buyers with potential end uses for alpacas so they can determine possible income generators that fit their lifestyle and interests. Just because it doesn’t interest you or fit your needs doesn’t mean it might not be perfect fit for potential buyers of your animals. Don’t limit your market by focusing only on your own interests – learn as much as you can about how your animals can be used to that you can sell interested clients on those may options.