Consultancy Testimonial: Tierra Prometida

 

 

 

 

Despite a weird taste for eye glass rims  Kern and Rhonda Deschner,  who have run Tierra Promiteda Alpaca Ranch since 1997, are one of the most progressive alpaca breeders in the US. Pucara International began a three year consultancy with Tierra Promiteda in 2013. Here is their take on the consultancy.

 

RHONDA'S TAKE:

 

"We are currently in the middle of a 3 year consultancy with Jude Anderson and Al Cousill.  When we first entered into this, I had no idea what it would involve or just how much we would benefit.  Initially, I thought that 3 years sounded like a ridiculously long time, but halfway through I have realized that it barely even touches the time we need to assess our strides towards accomplishing our goals. We may even need to extend our contract. I may have to hire them permanently!

 

Pucara International Consulting Services has been crucial to our current growth and development as alpaca breeders.

•   Initially they came to our ranch and assessed what we felt were our top 25%.  (Let me tell you...I was incredibly nervous about their judgement!)

•   They then helped select out the top 15% using hands on exam, EPD's, skin biopsies and serial histograms.  The purpose in this was to divide the female herd into a stud female group, a production female group, and to decide which ones we should cull from breeding altogether.  This process was instrumental in creating the focus necessary to advance our breeding program to the next level.

•   The next task was evaluating the males.  They helped us determine which males had value as breeders, which males had value as fiber producers or pets, and which should be culled.  This was especially useful because they were able to identify a male in our herd that has become a focal point in our breeding program.  This has saved us thousands of dollars that we have been able to use towards advancing our herd.

•   Next we spent countless hours determining the best breeding decisions for the upcoming breeding season for the stud females not only from our stud males but we also reviewed many off farm stud males based on their genetics and science driven data.  We studied pedigrees, EPD's, and skin biopsies when they were available.

•   One key area where they have been helpful is in assisting to scout out purchases for us.  This has kept me, in particular, from making impulsive and often regrettable purchases. We selected several females of stud potential from the nation's leading programs to match with our stud males.

•   They have also given wonderful direction about sales and marketing, encouraging us all along the way. Together we evolved a branding/marketing program with a promotional schedule that lifted our sales and sharpened our culling program. With their experience we chose auction entries that were well accepted by the buying public.

•   Difficult decisions about end market use were introduced and followed through. This was a hard decision but the effect has been to leave us with a well focused herd with a plan to follow and fewer animals that drain our overhead.

•   They have committed to giving yearly seminars which has been instrumental in showcasing our ranch and in enabling us to mentor other ranches.

•   We have committed to making all purchasing and breeding decisions through them...using their advice.

•   Al and Jude's farming  experience has been really helpful in identifying areas of farm management that has fine tuned daily chores to streamline activity on the ranch.

•   Perhaps one of the most helpful resources has been that they have shared their access and resources within the industry that has opened doors that at times we thought could not be opened.  Having a person of Jude's skill assisting with evaluations and deciphering scientific data has been very rewarding."

•   I must say there has been a great dividend in that we have had great fun and made a valuable friendship.

 

KERN'S TAKE:

 

 

When Rhonda and I started raising alpacas, we were often asked "what are your goals?".  Seventeen years later, we were still trying to clarify the answer.  After all that time, it seems like essentially the goals were twofold;  breed the best fleeces possible, and make money doing it. But how to do that?  How do you look over the whole US herd and find the best sires for your purposes?  How do you get an objective review of your own herd to cure your "barn blindness",  see where you are truly strong, where you are actually weak, and discover what is "dead wood" than needs to be off your farm?  Who do you know that has touched, examined, and compared champion alpacas from all over the country?  How do you get advice that prevents the expensive mistakes of impulsive auction purchases and breeding decisions?  How do you capitalize on all your marketing opportunities, find ways to eliminate waste and costs, and maximize you chance of producing a product that will make money?  For us, the answer was engaging Alan Cousill and Jude Anderson as alpaca business consultants.  They have assessed and constantly re-assessed our herd, open doors for purchases we would never have been allowed to consider, and diligently comb the available sires to select the absolute best breeding options.  Then they stay on board to change plans according to the outcomes of those breedings.  The have helped us deal with the realities of getting non-breeders off the farm.  Just the amount of money they have save us from misdirected purchases and poor breeding choices has more than paid for their consulting fees. We have found excellent "coaches" for our team and we are finally moving in a direction that is clear and focused. We both definitely feel that Al and Jude have dramatically improved our outcomes and we highly endorse their services.

W. Kern Deschner, M.D.

 

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