Skip to comments.Chinese "Students" canvassing American Alpaca Farms (Vanity Post)
Posted on 09/30/2012 5:28:56 AM PDT by The Working Man
I left the Space Program as a contractor back in 2009, my wife and I have been raising Alpacas on our farm though since 2005.
My wife is big into the Social Networking thing especially Facebook and various Yahoo Groups. Last night she was reading a very interesting post from a Fellow Alpaca Rancher in the South. He stated that he was getting multiple phone calls from Chinese students at a nearby university asking about the Alpacas and how easy they were to raise, The fiber products made from them, etc.
He then stated that he was now having carloads of them showing up and gushing about his animals and telling him about how they were a rage in China.
He asked a question to the group at large; Have you been having similar experiences?
He received replies from several other Alpaca farmers stating that they had also been receiving phone calls and visits from Chinese students.
Personally this sort of thing really bothers me for many reasons.
1. The Alpaca industry in the United States is in a precarious position and frankly has been for some time. The National herd needs to get to be around one million animals according to industry experts. We are less than three hundred thousand right now.
2. We have lost a BUNCH of farms in the last three and a half years due to Retirements, Divorces and Lay-offs of the Breadwinner in the family forcing the closing of the farm due to loss of outside income. This has contributed greatly to the reduction in the size of the National herd.
3. Getting on to China, China still is the largest producer of clothing. It makes economic sense to build up their own herd of Alpacas for harvesting the fiber for their clothing factories.
4. China has a history of doing this before, namely the Cashmere Goat market. They bought a bunch of the goats transported them to Mongolia and within a decade had destroyed the Cashmere industry across the world by producing very cheap Cashmere clothing items. I can see them doing that with Alpacas. That would destroy our own efforts here in the United States to build up a viable commercial market for our fiber from these amazing animals.
What I am hoping for by posting this is to get some Freeper help on research on China's history and current practices in the Agriculture and Clothing markets regarding "exotic fiber livestock". If I get enough I plan on presenting that to American Alpaca Farmers with the intent on showing that a quick sale today of Animals to China will end up with China putting their own businesses out of business in a decade or so.
Thank you for reading this.
The Working Man
I wouldn’t trust the Chinese as far as I could throw them. My dad grew up in China and said the only thing they care about is money
I’m neither Chinese nor a potential alpaca breeder, but it’s news to me that alpacas are bred stateside as anything other than pets. In the past, the word most associated with “alpaca” has been “scam”. A casual Google search revealed that another key word is “subsidy”:
Their intent is obvious.
They’ve done the same thing to nearly every industry that we once dominated, i.e. garlic etc.
I think they still resent that Jesuit priest who smugled silk worms out of China centuries ago.
Scam?, well I suppose that any industry could have that name attached to it over unscrupulous people gets their hands on it.
For myself, and all of the other small Alpaca Farmers this is no scam. And they are livestock, not pets. You have NO idea how many times I’ve had to correct that. And I blame the Alpaca Owners and Breeder Association for that. They had a stupid ad campaign a few years ago calling Alpacas the “Huggable Investment”. They are no more huggable than a sheep or a goat. Yes they are soft and feel wonderful. But they don’t like it and they “can” display that.
As far as “subsidy” goes. I’ve never seen one! My farm is a business that I run as a business. I can take business related deductions off of my taxes and I report and pay taxes on my sales.
How much for a breeding pair?
Curious, are they bred for meat, obviously fur, but isn’t that market struggling? What is the Alpaca trade like? (I’m not Chinee)
If you drug them then they are much more huggable.
As a long-time China watcher (hence the Internet alias aka the name of a 2nd century Chinese warlord), I'd be surprised if the Chinese can do anything cheaper in relation to raising livestock. Beef, chicken and pork are all cheaper stateside, based on my occasional readings of news wire items (Reuters, AP, Bloomberg) regarding China. However, if labor is a big part of the cost of alpaca wool, you may have some issues going forward.
Still, the Chinese labor cost advantage isn't what it used to be. Wages there are 4x or more times many countries in the region, including India, Pakistan and much of Central Asia (aka the -stans), which have the climates necessary for wool bearing animals to thrive. They are also not only higher than those in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay, but also rapidly accelerating. Chinese wages have been held down for a long time via explicit government policy, meaning they have not kept pace with productivity growth, but rising expectations among the Chinese labor force have led to government relaxation of policies that slowed wage growth. Bottom line is that the low wage threat from China is about to disappear, after factoring all the other costs of goods like transportation lead time, energy costs, communication snafus, et al.
That's been the case for many years ~ we can deliver a disease free frozen chicken to an African village for less than it costs to raise and process one there which can be fed without any cost at all.
We almost wiped out the Russian poultry industry with really low cost competition.
Before they can be considered mainstream livestock, there needs to be a ready market for the products.
Were I to have a pack of alpacas, I would have no local source to sell the fiber, meat, or the animals.
With cows, pigs, and goats, there are local, scheduled sales. No guessing where to sell or what the market price is, the state publishes weekly average market prices on these livestock.
For now, this market is another Emu industry, sounds good and lots of hype, but the thrust of the market is for current owners to sell breeding pairs for profit. Once that market is saturated, it will collapse like the Emu market did.
I have a few llamas. Not alpacas. I have not found any market for the wool, though we must shear them each year. There is, however, a market for live animals.
No chinese looking at my animals.
They are fairly pleasant animals to deal with. Easy to handle and don’t eat much. The babies are the cutest things ever.
The Bolivians called and they want you to stop raising their alpacas.
Thanks for the very informative post/thread.
I thought that the alpaca bubble burst in the early 2000's. Did it reinflate?
Would not surprise me
Biggest problem is that we have Free Trader Communists in the US who blindly support Free Trade with Communist China...and encourage the continued failed policies with Communist China. You can bet if the Communist Chinese destroyed the Goat-Herding market with their practices, they will sure do it with Alpacas
We need to strengthen American markets in all areas. Its better to have strong tariffs and paychecks than high income taxes and welfare checks.
Perhaps they can get the Chinese interested in Emus.
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