It has been a little over 6 months since I posted my prediction on the Alpaca Market in 2010 and 2011 - you can read the original post here.
We all saw many breeders/farms panic, have retirement sales, stop advertising, try to get out at any cost. This may have sent a message to some folks sitting on the sidelines wondering if alpacas are a good investment, I believe it has done some good things that is beneficial for our industry as a whole.
1 - The capitulation event (evidenced by steep price declines on abnormally high trading) is (I believe) behind us and the market is beginning to stabilize. While there is still some depression is some hard hit economic areas (such as Michigan and California), other areas of the country are seeing brisk animal sales. While the prices are not as high per an individual animal as we once enjoyed, most other livestock industry experts would tell you this was inevitable if we want to become a real livestock industry and become serious about the end products produced by these animals . . . fiber.
2 - People sitting on the sidelines for years, unable to break into the alpaca industry because of the incredibly high start up costs are coming out of the woodwork and purchasing their first animals. They either snatched up bargains when the dispersals/retirement sales happened or are looking at other farms who have moderately priced animals and are purchasing from them and are viewing these mentor farms as strong and in for the long haul.
3 - Many show producers have looked for ways to cut expenses and drive more of the public to these events so that alpacas can get more exposure outside the industry.
4 - Many breeders who thought fiber was an afterthought are finding new, creative ways to get their fiber into the pipeline.
5 - The poor economy as a whole has made sustainable agriculture and green products on the minds of many and alpaca breeders are capitalizing on our green products and sustainable industry. Whether a hobby breeder or a full fledged larger farm looking to replace all their income, people are coming together to support and promote alpacas and their products.
6 - People are becoming creative and are trading breedings, animals, products and services to increase revenue, bio-diversity and networking opportunities.
7 - AOBA seems to be listening and are tailoring marketing programs that are geared more toward the general public and less toward each other.
8 - ARI listened and lowered fees.
All in all, I think folks who got out and ran scared were a proper and necessary cleansing for the industry. I believe those that are still here are seeing the importance of fiber and a fiber market and cooperation among ourselves and perhaps other fiber producers is on the rise and will continue to increase.
More local exposure is happening at fairs, festivals, fiber events and public relation events relating to alpacas and public awareness is increasing perhaps creating more of a demand for a products and perhaps animals.
All in all I am positive for the future of our industry and believe that while the "hayday" of high prices are over, the best is yet to come for those of us that are serious about a fiber industry and about making our national herd the best alpacas in the world.
I think the predictions I made back in January are coming to fruition and our industry is on the rise of getting stronger and more realistic as a legitimate money making opportunity!