Controversy or Opportunity?
Couldn’t think of a more controversial livestock issue today than – alpaca meat. As with any livestock industry, there must be viable economic decisions requiring an end product. For the past three decades, alpacas have only been fiber and fiber alone. On the 30th anniversary of their introduction to the US, we find ourselves at the crossroads – of a touchy subject – alpaca meat and hides. I agree with Dr. Brett Kaysen about how detrimental the “huggable investment” phrase is now. Perhaps this new avenue will help farms make those tough decisions and perhaps it will help those who have been struggling with the economy to forge new ground.
One thing is for certain. The alpaca industry has been in a state of change for the past five years. Which for some, has allowed them to enter the industry with some phenomenal opportunities. For those who started in the mid 80's, retirement is knocking on their door. Our current economic state, prices are down. Some folks, it's time to jump in, giving new blood and energy and for others, time to jump out.
Another point that Dr. Brett Kaysen is clear on – all livestock models have been there and done that. That is change. Sure wish I had about four more days of listening to Dr. Kaysen talk. Applying some of the same principles that have been used with pigs, cattle or sheep may just help our industry. After all, his father came up with "Pork, the Other White Meat". Truly brilliant. Think of how this has affected our society!
Alpaca Owners of America will be exploring this alternative soon with a task force and we’ll see what they come up with. Should be an interesting topic, met with both optimism and objection.