Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Alma Park on Fox News with John Stossel - My Take (video link also)

John Stossel interviewed me for his piece on Fox late September of this year.   I was told that the piece would include alpaca farming because it can be "a great investment with lots of tax benefits, as well as just a rewarding thing to do".   A woman boarding here at the time originally had the initial contact with the producer and since she does not have a farm asked me if he could film at mine.  I jumped at the chance, as long as I was interviewed I said.   Our national organization, AOBA, did not want to do the interview, and I was never contacted by them for any assistance or inquiry if they could participate, which of course, I would have been happy to oblige.  I have been an AOBA member since 2002 and am currently on the Fiber Committee for a 2 year term. 

So we spent several hours filming a bunch of stuff.  Interacting with the alpacas, teasing some females with my male, feeding and other general stuff.  They also spent a good deal of time filming me in my yarn store packaging some items and skirting a fleece outside on my skirting table.

John showed up and asked questions about tax benefits, tax shelters, the potential for alpacas as meat and of course the fiber aspect of raising them.  He also asked about Mike Safely's article on "Why Not Have Uncle Sam Help You Buy Your Alpacas". 

The show finally ended up being "Top 10 Politicians' Promises Gone Wrong"

Click here to watch the video - lasts about 3 1/2 minutes into the video.  Mixed up a little with the golf carts can be a little confusing.

The teaser piece was on Fox 12/15/10 and caused a wide variety of dissension in the alpaca world.   Here is the write up on Stossel's blog and the tons of comments from disgruntled breeders calling Stossel anything from misinformed to a racist. 

On the Alpaca chat sites, much more was said, and the insults hurled at me JUST from the teaser piece were erroneous, inflammatory, childish,  and in some cases just plain stupid.  One Suri Alpaca breeder from Pennsylvania actually called my taking the interview "amateurish" and "selfish".   Selfish?  Selfish in what way, that I chose to speak about something I love - alpacas?  Amateurish?  Amateurish in what way, like the way he hurled insults at me ?  Another breeder from California called me "unintelligent" and said I should have focused on the fiber end of the industry.  DUH - that is what I always do . . . I don't have control over editing.  Other said I should have made my lawyer draw up a release.  Oh come on people - are you serious?  

Now that the actual piece has aired, the chat sites are quiet.  No more insults.  Some have come out and said that they thought it was a good piece!  One breeder even said he was going to name his next alpaca "Stossel".  I also received many emails in support of my interview and slamming the people that flamed me.  People are even reporting getting phone calls from people who are interested in alpacas and are interested in "learning more about the tax breaks".  Not everyone agrees with me or my philosophy and that's ok - this IS America folks!

But lets look at the interview this way.  Alpacas in the public eye on a channel that targets people with money!!  I say it's a good thing.  No one complained when Jane Pauley, Martha Stewart, David Letterman, Stanley Steamer, Jay Leno or American Express had alpacas in the news. Even an article in the Tractor Supply Magazine.  In fact people were overjoyed.  This is ONE MORE opportunity to show American that Alpacas are NOT llamas, not long necked sheep etc. 

I find it funny that so many folks deny taking tax benefits from the business as if it is something to be ashamed of?   While tax benefits are far from enticing today in this economy to enter the industry- it was a MAJOR source of marketing years ago and a MAJOR source for many to get into the business.  Today, I believe and I see that most people are getting into the industry for the business opportunity and the fiber end of the business and the love of the animals. 

I lowered my prices on animals several years ago before the economy started to decline.  I have many posts on this blog speaking about the economics of the industry.  I was one of the first to lower prices, of course to the nasty looks and emails of others - but now MANY folks have prices which are more to the "average consumer" .   

Here are a few articles I wrote over the last couple of years: 

Alpaca Market and the Economy - Sept 2008

The Market for Alpacas - Jan 2010
The Market for Alpacas 6 months later - July 2010
The Economics of the Alpaca Industry Oct 2010
Buying on Value rather than Price - Dec 2010

To show how alpacas were marketing in the past - here are some links to our own national breeders organization, AOBA.  Literature produced by AOBA still touts tax benefits as a huge advantage and many of us advertise during the end of the year to "get your year end tax benefits and buy by 12/31". 

Article 1  "can offer the rancher some very attractive tax advantages" Nothing speaks of profiting from fiber except as it relates to income from the "sale of crops". 

Article 2 "Tax-deferred wealth building is another "alpaca advantage". As your herd grows, you postpone paying income tax on its increasing value until such time as you begin selling the offspring."

Article 3

While these "advantages" are for all ag businesses and/or small businesses - we TOUT it as the main reason to buy and invest.

And again let's not forget Mike's Article

I have used these tax advantages for marketing in the past and still use them today depending on who my customer is and their economic status.  Even the folks who are NOT looking for tax benefits are still plenty interested on how this will positively impact their taxes.  I have read and used many of Mike Safley's tax items and even send people to his site on the tax benefits, section 179 etc etc.  Anyone not taking advantage of the tax benefits should get a NEW Accountant!!  
I am also a fan of Fox news and my favorite show is Bulls and Bears on Saturday morning.  Being in this business over 8 years, I have seen my share of turmoil and controversy and sometimes have been right in the middle of it !!  I also have been building a fiber business for about 6 years and have been very successful.  A  reason why many folks come to me for advice or animals or yarn designs etc.  Turning this from a tax shelter to a business took years and it continues to evolve, but let me tell you that I will take advantage of any tax benefit the government has in place.  That is what all small businesses do!  That is what all agricultural businesses do !!  

As far as subsidies - we are NOT talking subsidies.  We are talking write offs. So those folks talking subsidies and hand outs have an incorrect impression of this industry, any ag industry or small business.  Subsidies and grants are  out there - but take grant writing application and specifics that are not as easy as a simple tax write off.  See this article for some grant websites. 

Many folks still work full time and have this as a secondary business.  It is in most cases a labor of love or a passion for the fiber or the animals or both.  

I think John did a great thing by allowing alpacas to be center stage again and if asked - would I do the interview again?  I say ABSOLUTELY!!!  Did I mention the film crew purchased approx $500 in alpaca products from my store before leaving? 

A quote I leave you with today (I hope I do this with my writing and my actions): 
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." --John Quincy Adams

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Way to go Rose!! Keep up the good work!! I couldn;t agree with you more on EVERYTHING!!!!