Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Latest from AOBA - to appear on CNBC

Hmmmm - so is AOBA trying to make up for the collasol faux pas of not appearing on Stossel?  Or do they just simply feel CNBC is a better venue?  I guess we will have to wait and see.  Here was their press release sent to members yesterday.   I will post more when I know more.

1/26/11 6:30 pm ET


We are very excited to announce that alpacas will be featured on CNBC News!
CNBC will film at Alpacas at Windy Hill in Somis, California tomorrow afternoon and will conduct an interview with AOBA Board Member Claudia Raessler.

CNBC is shown in 101 countries, 175 million households worldwide. This segment will likely be shown more than once and will likely be posted on their website for additional viewership.

The interview will air next week, date and time to be announced. Stay tuned for more information!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

AOBA's response to No Show on Stossel

Is this a pathetic explanation or what?? Received 12:43 AM ET 1/22/11

 AOBA Members,

As many of you are aware, alpacas were once again the focus of John Stossel last night on the Fox Business News show “Stossel”.  AOBA was invited to appear on this segment, but did not learn until Friday, January 14, that they were moving forward with the segment.

The AOBA Board of Directors held a special meeting and Bill Johnson was scheduled to appear on the show.  Due to an unexpected conflict, Bill was unable to make it to the studio.  Board Member Claudia Raessler quickly began a two hour drive to a remote Fox studio to stand in on behalf of AOBA.  Unfortunately, she was unable to make it to the studio in time for the segment.

However, Theresa Reyes-Stassel of Hagen Heights Alpaca Farm did a wonderful job showcasing alpacas with the show’s star, a huacaya that even John Stossel himself admitted was “adorable”, named Admiral.

A promotion for the segment can be seen at the following link:

Once the footage of the actual segment is posted online, we will make it available for our members to view.

Cindy Berman, AOBA Public Relations

Friday, January 21, 2011

Letter from AOBA Dec 16, 2010 - MORE CRAP

Here is the email (copied in it's ENTIRETY) that all AOBA members received on Dec 16, 2010 prior to the original segment airing.   So basically, we were told to "shut up" and forward any responses to AOBA so that AOBA can send a "unified" message.  What a bunch of crap.  I encourage you all to send email to or call the AOBA offices and voice your concerns.  Including the members of the BOD that let us down.  I ask again - WHY ARE WE PAYING a media/PR consultant - what is she doing for us?  The  literature is outdated,  the website is outdated, there is a Fiber Resource book still for sale from 2005. . . TIME for a CHANGE people!!!!

How do we do it ?? I want to know your opinins!

Here is a list of contact info at AOBA. 

Media Consultants info :
Cindy Berman
Phone: 615-834-4195

 Fox News - Alpaca Story

John Stossel of Fox News has produced a segment that will air Friday, December 17th on the Fox News Channel. The segment has a finite focus of tax breaks that Mr. Stossel feels are wasteful and frivolous in nature. One of the top ten tax breaks Mr. Stossel will feature are tax breaks available to owners of alpacas.

AOBA was contacted by John Stossel's staff and asked to provide information and contacts prior to this segment being filmed. The contacts and information that AOBA provided were not used in this segment. As Mr. Stossel is known for sensationalism and not journalism, the end result of this report will cast a somewhat negative light on the alpaca industry and the American Livestock Industry as a whole. While alpacas have been singled out for this report, it is important to note that alpaca breeders receive no special treatment with regard to business tax advantages for livestock owners and producers.

AOBA is asking that all alpaca breeders, regardless of affiliation with AOBA forward any media inquiries to Cindy Berman, Public Relations Consultant for AOBA or the AOBA office. It is important that our industry maintain a consistent and measured message with the media in light of this attack by Mr. Stossel and Fox News.

While the theme of the segment is unfortunate, the publicity will drive many people to seek more information about alpacas. This does afford alpaca breeders a rare opportunity for national exposure. Breeders are encouraged to use this opportunity to talk about the business of the alpaca industry, which does include certain tax advantages. We encourage breeders to have a business conversation with buyers and assure any prospective breeder that the alpaca is treated equally to other livestock choices within the tax code.

Please forward any media questions to Cindy Berman, , (216) 952- 7510 or the AOBA Office (615) 834-4195.

Thank you,
The AOBA Board of Directors


Link to Stossel's Latest Alpaca Segment - the one where AOBA didn't show up !!

Here is the link to the latest segment on alpacas.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More John Stossel and Alpacas!!! 9pm and MidNight ET on FBN

Last week, I was contacted by John Stossel's producer to come back for a follow  up interview on John's "Political Promises Gone Wrong" segment that aired in December. He also asked me to bring an alpaca.   I really, really wanted to do the interview, however, due a medical condition, I was unable to travel into New York City at this time.  I was really bummed, but John and his producer asked the other woman who did the interview with me and she happily obliged armed with a PR animal in toe.

The Teaser Segment has been showing since yesterday morning and can be seen here.   The segment "The Curse of Good Intentions will air at 9pm ET and midnight ET on FBN (Fox Business News).   You can read about John's view of the segment here.

So now to a scathing comment (not about John, but about AOBA and this industry).  I just found out that AOBA who demanded equal air time, sent out a hush order to all AOBA members, and allowed fellow AOBA members to flame me on line, in chat rooms and in hallways CANCELED at the last minute!!!  So John has been called an idiot and a closeted bigot.  I have been called an idiot.  People have said they do not take tax breaks etc (they are lying or delusional is how I see it) - however AOBA's own literature TOUTS these tax breaks.  So, they demanded fair time and CANCELED at the last minute????

Please see my blog post about the tax benefits touted on AOBA's own site .

I have been positive and supportive for my entire time in the industry - but I say now to all you "little" breeders. . .  I think the time is now to see if AOBA truly has the correct leadership?  Has it for the last decade?  Do we need to overhaul our entire way of doing business, showing and the like?  I for one am SICK and tired of the infighting, back-stabbing, childish stupidity that has gone on especially since the economy faltered.  I got a lot of abuse for the Stossel interview which I would do ALL over again if given the chance.

I think both John and I NEED an apology from the IDIOTS that flamed us and from the AOBA board for trying to hush us and now not even following through on speaking with John when they thought the original piece was SO detrimental.  Remember John made time for AOBA when AOBA demanded it. 

People - grow up, get a set of balls, and treat this as a real industry and not some hobby organization.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ian Watt and I donate books to a Cause !!!

******ALPACA BOOKS FOR A CAUSE!!!*******

- Raffling off 2 copies of my book (A ...Mama for Mr Frost)
- Ian Watt has joined the effort and has generously donated 2 copies of his book "The International Alpaca Handbook" autographed.

All proceeds go to the Montana Large Animal Sanctuary Rescue.

$10 donations to MLAS, SELR or NELR - your choice. Paypal to or copy of the receipt to one of the rescues (with memo being "BOOK RAFFLE") - I will add more books to the raffle if there is a large donation. Entries close 1/20/11 at midnight. Drawing on 1/21/11.

Mr. Frost and I will autograph yur copy if you wish !!

These animals need your help --- donate today.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Losing the Matriarch of Alma Park - A Tribute

Pepper was one of the first alpacas I purchased and she remained a foundation girl up until the day we retired her (at 19).  Only producing white females for me - she never had a need for extra attention, never had an issue with getting pregnant, staying pregnant, giving birth, IgG, or weaning her crias.  Her crias were born early in the morning and were up and nursing before we ever noticed.  She wasn't thrilled with human company, but never fussed when she needed to have herd health done.  Stoic and graceful til the end, she passed away in her sleep on New Year's Eve (at 22).  It was a heartbreaking end to 2010 for us, but she will always be remembered and her children, grandchildren, great grand children and great great grand children still live on here at Alma Park and she will never be forgotten. 

RIP Pepper - we will miss you always. 

Pepper 2004

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My Contribution to the Montana Large Animal Sanctuary Rescue

In order to raise money for the Montana Large Animal Sanctuary Rescue - I will be booking a breeding to each of my top males for $500 each and send that money (all $500 per stud) directly to the South East Llama Rescue (SELR) for the Rescue of the animals in the miserable conditions at the "Sanctuary" in Montana.

MLS Peruvian Sebastian - breeding fee normally $1000
MSA Accoyo Volunteer - breeding fee normally $1250
ABC Balthasar - breeding fee normally $750

In addition to the 3 breedings mentioned above - I will continue to help by keeping the breeding fee of each of these 3 studs at $500 until Jan 31, 2011 and donate 20%  to SELR.

You can read more about these wonderful males here 

***Conditions - female must "drive by" my farm - we are in NJ.  Boarding available - fees apply.   We accept PayPal and Credit Cards for your convenience.  Breedings can be used ANYTIME.  50% must be paid at time of contract signing - so money can be sent to SELR with balance due in 30 days. 

Any questions - please call or email me - all our info is on our website.

My renewed objections to the MAPACA Jubilee 3 day show - and why I will boycott it !!

Last year - I formally objected to MAPACA Jubilee being a 3 day show prior to the show happening (Sent a letter to the BOD and to everyone in the region that I had in my database.  I also posted on Facebook and AlpacaNation) .  There was a lot of support (sent to me privately and to the BOD) . . . and supposedly it was to be re-addressed for 2011, because they supposedly were too far into the planning to change now.  I was already registered and god for bid I could get my money back, so I went to the show and it dragged on ridiculously !! To try to get numbers up to show that it is a "large, well attended show", they cut stall fees and class fees in half or giving them away - simply to make it look like it was still the 'Go To Show'. Supposedly 1000 alpacas were in attendance.

I also expressed my opinions after the show was over,  about the show dragging, coffee being charged for at the Norm Evans' dinner and the fact that the judge for the huacaya males was inconsistent and simple not a "level 5 judge" and many people flamed me.  Even the quality of the judges that the Jubilee used to attract at have degraded.  It used to attract top training judges such as Jude Anderson and Mike Safley.   Well here we are again - and it appears it will again be a 3 day show !  And stall prices are going to be $280 (for 3 juvis or 2 yearling/adults) - are you kidding me?????  In a letter to renew membership today - you can save 30% on stalls - which is still $196 a STALL!!  If the venue was moved or less expensive or sod was not provided - there can be a significant savings - but it seems that the elitist movement is alive and well for this show.

Here is what I posted to the AN boards in April (after the show) as the show's highlights (negative highlights that is):


1 - A judge change at the last minute for black juvi females which one of my clients had in the show --- I think this is actual an AOBA violation and will be asking AOBA Show division later today.
2 - Only 2 rings were utilized on Friday. Then Sat and Sun they used that ring ONLY for the performance classes - so 1000 Suri and Huacays had to be in 2 rings!!! There were enough Suris there to have a ring all by themselves!
3 - They seemed to purposely drag out the show to prove it needed to be 3 days because of my and many other folks complaining about the 3 day format. People were there from Maine, Virginia and Ohio and the the huacayas didn't finish until 5 pm on Sunday - I am sure that people I know with Grey Huacaya females in Ohio didn't get home until after midnight. After the poor animals were stalled in tiny pens for 4 days. How about we start thinking about our animals HEALTH and stress???
4 - Seminars in which I was a speaker was again a football field away even tho we were told it was all under one roof
5 - Dinner with Norm Evans (tickets were $20 per person) and they charged an extra $2 for a freaking cup of coffee - are you kidding me? Coffee should come with a buffet - are they THAT desperate for money? When the question was posed to the board the response was "I don't know"
6 - Spin Off - they decided to only give ribbons for 1-3 place - who made that decision?? There are always 1 - 6 ribbons in spin off unless otherwise stated up front
7 - Color check in – the people who were doing check in were checking at the tip of the fleece or in the middle rather than at the skin - so that I had to argue on almost every animal except my whites. How about you train the volunteers or have someone there who actually knows how to do it?
8 - Exhibitors meeting was at 8:30 am and my first seminar was at 9 am (mind you a football field away) – the projector wasn’t in the room and the length that people had to walk made for low attendance – however the second time I did the seminar – I had approx 25 people – which makes me think – if your show opens at 9 – then let people get settled and start the first seminars at 10.
9 - Isn't it customary to have 2 judges judge the production classes? Well they were SO behind schedule that they only had one and kept the performance ring open - so that had to wait for people in the get because they were also in the performance ring.
10 - How come we don't have top judges at MAPACA this year. I don't consider the male huacaya judge a top judge and at a level 5 show - there should be a bigger name!
11 - let's not even talk about how expensive a show it is !!

MAPACA thinks they are an "Elite" show because of their "events" like wine and cheese and other stuff like that. How about they try to make the event more efficient, less stressful for the animals and humans !!

It was absolutely the worst show I have ever attended! It was drawn out, long, disorganized and no one seemed to know what was going on when asked at the super's stand and things just kept changing. . . ridiculous.

With so many competing shows out there - there are cheaper and better run alternatives.  


I won't be attending the Jubilee this year - nor will I be renewing my membership to MAPACA

Here was my open letter to the BOD last year and I think that it applies. This was sent for the 2010 Jubilee on March 18, 2010)


The MAPACA Jubilee is a must do in the Northeast region of the alpaca world.  In 2008, we saw record breaking numbers of 1700 animals  registered under Wayne Robinson's leadership.  However due to economic changes, competing events and industry focus, registration last year was much, much less.  The show dragged on and was not a happy place to be.  I personally stood at the gate after last call for 15 - 20 minutes waiting to show which makes a bad experience for the alpacas and exhibitors.  Sunday could not come quick enough for me to pack up and go home.  The building was a ghost town by 11AM Sunday morning.

I believe there are several compelling reasons to make this a 2 day show:
1 -- When the MAPACA Jubilee had an auction component the 3 day show was necessary - since there is no longer an auction component  - that 3rd day just extends the time between classes and everyone's frustration at these low registration numbers
2 -- People with children find it difficult to make their child take an extra day off from school
3 -- People who work find it difficult and may even have economic challenges to take an extra day off from work
4 -- The show is already one of the most expensive in the country and the extra night in a hotel room has economic challenges for many
5 -- If a level 3 show can manage 300 animals in 1 ring over 2 days, a show with approx 800-900 animals can manage 2 days with 4 rings
6 -- Many breeders I have spoken to specifically stated they will not be showing at MAPACA this year because it is a 3 day show
7 -- Many breeders I have spoken to have decided not to show because of the expense
8 -- Many breeders I have spoken to have decided not to show because it dragged on forever last year
9 -- Many small farm simply cannot do a show of this cost over 3 days

The alpaca industry is not just retired / rich folks anymore.  We come from all walks of life and many need to watch expenses and need to work in order to be in the industry they love especially in this economic environment.

We also need to make sure we are not alienating the small farms out there.  Small farms are the future of our industry and are also the customers for the large and medium farms. 

I implore you to make the decision to make this a 2 day show this year and in next year's planning start with a clean slate, don't look back to the MAPACA of the past - it will not be that again.  Look to the MAPACA of the future and make it the GO TO show again.  Because right now - it is an afterthought for many people.  I personally no longer look forward to showing there - I just feel as a large breeder I must, but it is my least favorite and least fun show I do all year.


To the Alpaca Breeders out there, if you agree with making MAPACA Jubilee a 2 day show this year - please voice your opinion to the BOD as well.  You can email them all at or go to the website for contact info.