Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Farmers Face Harsh Realities and Tough Decisions When Tragedy Strikes

It’s something that every small business owner fears: what will happen to my business if I become ill? The impacts of illness can be devastating for businesses, but the impact is ten-fold in the farming sector where there are few social supports in place to help keep these farms afloat during a major health crisis. Unlike traditional businesses, things like sick leave, succession planning, or transfer of ownership often aren’t an option – especially if the farm is family-run.

But it’s a reality that Alberta’s Wilderness Alpacas has unfortunately had to face head-on. This past year Wilderness Alpacas has faced a series of serious health crises, resulting in the difficult decision to close down their well-respected alpaca farm and sell-off their herd.

Co-owner Shirley Charters explains the impact, “Farming isn’t like other businesses; most of us are family-run. It’s no different for us than for any other family when someone gets sick – it affects us all. But in our case, all of our livelihoods depend on the farm, so if we can’t keep it running, you can’t keep your family going.” 

Selling off their herd was a not a decision taken lightly, “It’s made for some heart-breaking decisions, but in the end nothing’s more important than family. We’ve grown to think of the alpacas as part of our extended families and so it’s so important to us that each and every one of them gets the loving home they deserve. Knowing that they’re getting the care they deserve will help make lighten the burden just a little bit.”

Wilderness Alpacas will be holding a total herd disbursement auction Saturday, September 17th, 2011. It will take place at the Wilderness Alpacas Farm: 222194 RR274, Rocky View, Alberta. For more information and the auction catalogue visit: www.wildernessalpacascatalog.ca

To book an interview contact:
Rachel Sentes

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