The Alpaca Advantage
There are so many advantages to raising alpacas, that it is very difficult to list and explain them in just a few pages. We will attempt to give you a general idea of some of the financial and health benefits of owning your own alpaca herd.
Double Your Money
We all know the advantages of placing your money at a bank. It pays interest, albeit at a very low rate in recent years. With alpacas, you have the potential of earning your initial investment every time a cria (baby alpaca) is born. Where else can you double your money so quickly?
“It’s all about the fibre”... soft, luxurious, warm fibre that the animals produce for you every spring. You can sell the fibre outright or you can retail it from your home. The latter is much more profitable as you can sell yarn, socks, felt, etc. This method of sale can bring you more than $60.00 a pound. Imagine three, four hundred pounds of fibre … a nice, tidy profit.
Alpaca farming or ranching permits you to declare your property as a farm. This allows you to use most of your spending as a deduction against your normal income. For example, if you buy a computer for the home office, it is tax deductible. Consider using renovations or construction of a barn, your feed, vet bills, travel expenses, repairs, insurance, purchase of a new truck and so much more.
Under the 1998 legislation in Ontario, a farmer pays 25% of the municipal tax rate on farm property. What an advantage! To qualify for these benefits you must have a farm business registration number and you must generate an annual gross revenue of $7,000.00. Both are easily attainable.
What about Provincial Sales Tax and the Goods and Services Tax that are now rolled into the HST (the Harmonized Sales Tax)? Yes, with your farm registration number you can be refunded on most products purchased for the farm.
How to finance your purchase of animals is an often asked question. Some possibilities include applying to Farm Credit Canada for great loan options geared to farmers, converting other assets into liquid money, using real estate equity, having a line of credit for investment purposes or making arrangements with the breeder. All interest paid is tax deductible.
Can alpaca farming/ranching be considered an investment in your health? In today’s workplace, more often than not, we work long hours at high stress levels and we fight frustrating commutes and heavy traffic to get there. Can this be detrimental to your health? Many studies warn us of the multiple problems often caused by stress and/or lifestyle.
Consider the calming effects of walking out into green pastures and being greeted by the gentle hum of alpacas. Or perhaps the commute to a barn, rather than through heavy traffic appeals to you? What of the fresh country air as compared to the recycled stagnant air of the office? Then there is the possibility of dealing with the minor problems of the alpacas as opposed to irate co-workers or clients. We experienced the detrimental effects of stress in the workplace first hand. It became essential to make a lifestyle transition.
Our decision has resulted in better health and fitness for both of us. Since leaving my high school principal’s position, I have enjoyed the benefits of losing 15 pounds and becoming much more fit. My wife has also made the transition from her job to country living. She, too, enjoys working with our country friends ... 95 alpacas, 1 cow, 4 sheep, and 30 chickens. Oh, and we must not forget the healthy organic foods out of our garden.
Country living is an investment in our health!