County's first alpaca breeding business on sale

After being the first to bring alpacas to Frederick County in 1996, the herd of 26 Huacaya alpacas of Brookmere Alpacas near Woodsboro is now for sale. Talking recently to two-year-old Logan is Sue Ann Wilms of Brookmere Alpacas.

WOODSBORO — Heinz and Sue Ann Wilms, Frederick County’s first alpaca breeders since 1996, are closing shop.

For $35,000, an alpaca lover can have Brookmere Alpacas at Chestnut Hill in Woodsboro, which consists of 26 alpacas and all the equipment.

“I want to sell it to somebody who really wants to be in the alpaca business — somebody who will be an alpaca enthusiast like we’ve been all these years,” Sue Ann Wilms said. She said they are selling the business due to health reasons.

“This is an ideal turn-key operation and for $35,000, it’s a tremendous bargain,” Sue Ann Wilms said. “We never felt someone should go deeply into debt to be in the alpaca business. It will take the fun out of it.”

Alpaca breeding, a niche market, has been in Frederick County since 1981, said Colby Ferguson, the county’s agriculture development specialist. Though Chestnut Hill Farm was the first alpaca breeding farm in the county, many others have sprouted.

There are two facets to the fast-growing alpaca industry — fiber production and showing, Ferguson said.

Actual numbers of local alpaca breeders are hard to come by, Wilms said, because not all producers belong to the Maryland Alpaca Breeders Association, which lists 38 breeders on its website. But Nancy Brandt, owner of Sugarloaf Alpaca Co., the county’s largest alpaca operation, estimates that at least 20 local farms are raising alpacas.

Sugarloaf Alpaca Company, LLC began 10 years ago with 12 alpacas. The company now has 130 alpacas and has sold more than four dozen animals to other farms as breeding stock and for fiber production and pets.

“The alpaca industry is alive and well — both locally and nationally (as) a growing number of people have discovered the superior softness, warmth and hypoallergenic qualities of alpaca,” Brandt said.

Sugarloaf’s on-farm alpaca yarn shop and fiber studio are doing great, Brandt said.

“But the biggest news of all is that just this week we are installing a full-service fiber processing mill on our farm,” Brandt said.

“We have over 1,000 pounds of our fiber waiting to be processed into yarn, rovings and felted products. Once we are caught up with our own fiber we will offer our services to other alpaca fiber producers on a limited first-come, first-served basis.”

Alpaca is a versatile fiber that can be used to create products that are warm for the winter and others that can be cool and breathable for the summer, Brandt said.

Al and Catherine Beatty ended six months of alpaca research with a consensus to begin a business. It has been 12 years since the Beattys started Bellasera Alpacas in Union Bridge, and the self-described animal lovers said they have no regrets.

“Alpaca is a very sweet animal, they’re easy to train and it’s a nice farm business to have,” Catherine Beatty said. “It was truly love at first sight, and we’ve never regretted it.”

The couple’s research uncovered the docile nature of alpacas, how easy they were to train and their high-quality fiber, Catherine Beatty said.

Alpacas range in price from $5,000 to $30,000, she said.

“We offer various financing packages, and we welcome farm visits because we’re big on educating people about what wonderful animals they are,” she said.

(8) comments

kitty1967

sweetest farm animal ever! i wish i was in a position to scoop this up.

rscott25

And so totally docile. Surprised they have not made it bigger here in the US.

rscott25

And no, that was not sarcasm.

rscott25

Mwaahhh, sheep on tall legs. Hope someone takes them up. YES YES YES. One of my more sensitve moments.

dressthebird

TMI

rscott25

Alpacas and Emus are some of the better attractions at the Great Frederick Fair. As much as like cows, they slobber a bit to much.

dressthebird

TMI

kingesquivel

'As long as the lady is paying for it, why not take the Vicuna?'

[wink]

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Already a member?

Login Now
Click Here!

Currently a News-Post subscriber?

Activate your membership at no additional charge.
Click Here!

Need more information?

Learn about the benefits of membership.
Click Here!

Ready to join?

Choose the membership plan that fits your needs.
Click Here!