Sunday, January 31, 2010

Seminars and MI-ALPACA Annual Meeting

Yesterday, Noah and I attended the alpaca marketing seminar through the MI-ALPACA group and the MI-ALPACA annual meeting. The event was held at the small animal clinic on Michigan State University's campus. The day was actually comprised of 3 different seminars and the annual meeting, where they announced the board of directors election results.

The first seminar in the morning was called "Alpaca Diversification for Profit" and was presented by Evelyn Brumwell from YB Normal Ranch in Frewsburg, NY and Jan O'Neill from Clare Limerick Alpaca Ranch in Jackson, MI. It was an interesting presentation and I took a few good ideas and tidbits home from it that I would like to try in our business. We also got a great resource list of fiber processors that we are going to check out.

The second seminar is the afternoon was called "Fiber-Innovation, Motivation, and Education" and was presented by Holli Cox of Fleeces-to-Go and Hidden Hilltop Alpaca Ranch in Lexington, OH. I found this to be the most interesting presentation as she talked about different ways to sell, process and compete with your fiber. I feel like I really got a lot out of her showing us how to sort, grade, and skirt huacaya and suri fleece. I would like to take an even longer seminar on these subjects.

The last seminar was specifically geared towards marketing and advertising and was presented by Sandy Morden of RAMP (Realistic Alpaca Marketing Projects) and Pine River Alpacas of Ruby, MI. This was a very energetic and entertaining presentation where again, I brought a few neat tidbits back to our farm to try to implement.

I am looking forward to lots more interesting seminars in the future. There are so many great subjects to be covered; from fleece and conformation to health related topics. I can't wait!

Last, but certainly not least, the MI-ALPACA groups first annual meeting was held during lunch. The only topic on the agenda was the election results. Noah and I were both a little nervous. I ran for a 1 year term, "at large" position and I am proud to announce that I was elected! Noah ran against two other candidates for a 3 year term, North Regional position (which covers all areas north of M-46) and I am also proud to say that he got twice as many votes as the other candidates and won as well! We are both very excited to sit on this state wide alpaca board. Other candidates who were elected include:

Tom Lund of Sunshine Daydream Alpacas, LLC in Lowell, MI
Donna Jaruzel of Brandilyn Farm Alpacas in Holly, MI
Cora Foley of Alpacas of Tealwater Ranch in Vermontville, MI
Andrea Morrison of Wonder Why Alpaca Farm in East Leroy, MI
Lynn Scholten of Blendon Pines Alpaca Ranch in Hudsonville, MI

This is a diverse and creative bunch of alpaca farmers and I am excited to see what the MI-ALPACA group will accomplish in the next few years! During the election, members also had to vote on changing some of the by-laws. All the changes passed and with those changes, the association will be ready to become an AOBA affiliate! If you have any questions about the association, feel free to check out the groups website (listed on the right side of this page) or email me at


WonderWhyGal said...

Your blog was just tweeted on twitter. Good for you! Congrats to both you and Noah and I hope to get to know you both better through our board meetings.

It was a great seminar and I also found some new ideas to implement on my farm.

I will have to link your blog to mine. Nice to have another MI farm blogging.

Noah and Jillian Schwander said...

Hey Andrea,
Thanks for checking out the blog! I love documenting our alpaca adventure! I am not really into twitter and honestly don't really know what it means to be tweeted, but it sounds exciting and thanks for letting me know! I will have to check your blog out and add a link of it to our blog. Thanks for all your hard work at the seminar! We too look forward to getting to know you! ~Jillian