Maple Hill Manorýs Excellent Agricultural Adventure
By: Todd allen
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Maple Hill Manor’s Excellent Agricultural Adventure:
Raising alpacas is an enjoyable, eco-friendly and financially rewarding lifestyle
An incredible adventure of a lifetime began 10 years ago for Todd Allen and Tyler Horton, owners/innkeepers of Historic Maple Hill Manor Bed & Breakfast in Springfield, Kentucky. Both became interested in raising alpacas after seen one at the Kentucky State Fair in 2000.
“It was love at first sight,” recalls Horton. “From the animals’ elegant beauty, luxurious fiber and inquisitive personality to their graceful and calming affect on others, we immediately became intrigued. We wanted to learn more about this unique fiber animal and the many benefits afforded in raising alpacas. We researched and visited farms out-of-state for a year before investing in our starter herd.”
Alpacas in the United States
Horton and Allen were each laid off from their corporate jobs after 9/11. They purchased the 150 year-old antebellum mansion known as Maple Hill Manor and embarked on their agriculture adventure: raising alpacas and llamas and operating a Farm Stay bed and breakfast inn.
“Both aspects of the operation have been an ideal complement to one another and have provided an enjoyable, fulfilling and rewarding farm life,” says Allen.
Alpacas, cousins to the Llama, are native to the Andean Mountain range of South America, particularly Peru, Bolivia and Chile. Alpacas were first imported into the United States in 1984. Since then, the alpaca industry has grown steadily, according to the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA), the backbone of the alpaca industry. Current estimates total over 120,000 registered alpacas with the Alpaca Registry, Inc. (ARI) in the United States and more than 4,000 AOBA members in North America.
There are two types of alpacas in the United States today. Although almost physically identical, they are distinguishable by their fiber. The Huacaya (wa-Ki’-ah), the more common of the two, has a fluffy, extremely fine coat; the Suri is rarer and has fiber that is silky and resembles pencil-locks.
Adult alpacas stand approximately 36 inches at the withers and generally weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. They do not have horns, hooves, claws or incisors. Alpacas are alert, intelligent, curious and predictable. Social animals that seek companionship, they communicate most commonly by softly humming.
Alpacas are shorn – without harm – every 12 to 18 months. They produce five to 10 pounds of luxurious fiber. Long ago, alpaca fiber was reserved for Incan Royalty. Today it is purchased as raw fleece by a national fiber cooperative, hand-spinners and fiber artists. Knitters and weavers buy it as yarn.
Maple Hill Manor was one of the first 10 farms in Kentucky to start raising alpacas. Today there are nearly 100 farms across the state. Horton and Allen’s enterprise has grown into the largest purely Suri Alpaca and Llama Breeding Program in Kentucky and features a Fiber Farm Store that is available not only to its many overnight guests but to the public as well.
The proof is in the fiber
Because of its soft texture, alpaca fiber is sometimes compared to cashmere, yet fiber studies prove that alpaca fiber is the superior of the two. Making the fiber even more coveted is its silky luster. Alpaca is warmer than wool, yet one third the weight of wool. It comes in 22 natural colors, yet can be dyed any desired shade.
Containing no lanolin, alpaca fiber is also naturally hypoallergenic. And because it is smooth, most people who are sensitive to wool find they can wear alpaca without the itching or irritation they feel from wool. Additional performance characteristics include stretch, stain resistance, water repellency and odor reduction. For travelers, clothing made from alpaca is desirable because it is wrinkle-resistant.
“We have truly enjoyed the experience of raising them, while offering our overnight guests an educational learning experience,” says Horton. “Alpacas exude personality and charm, exhibit an inquisitive and playful nature, produce one of the world’s finest luxury fibers and are easy to care for and raise.
“We love to show the animals and their fleeces, the selective breeding decisions to improve our breeding and fiber program year over year and the thrill of helping other farmers and/or investors start in this business.”
“We have carefully selected some of the best bloodlines in the nation to include in our herd. Our guests of all ages enjoy learning about them, handling them, helping with the farm chores, learning a new fiber craft and shopping the farm store,” adds Allen.
Maple Hill Manor is a member of Kentucky Proud, Kentucky Farm Bureau Roadside Market, Kentucky Alpaca Association, Alpaca Owners and Breeders of America (AOBA), Alpaca Registry (ARI), the Suri Network, Alpaca Fiber Cooperative of North America (AFCNA), and Central Kentucky Agritourism Association.
Alpaca events offered year-round
Maple Hill Manor innkeepers work with several local artisans who make scarves, shawls, hats and gloves, blankets and other garments and gift items available for consignment in their Farm Store. They also work with local spinners and a local mill to make yarn and roving.
“We work with many local and nationally known fiber artists for our annual fiber workshops, open farm day celebrating National Alpaca Farm Day and Holiday Historic House Tour & Alpaca Fiber Farm Store Holiday Bazaar.”
Events are posted on Maple Hill Manor’s website at www.maplehillmanor.com
. The next workshop, scheduled from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday, June 19, focuses on getting started with raising alpacas.
Maple Hill Manor marks 10 years of raising alpacas with incentives
To celebrate its 10th year in the alpaca business, Maple Hill Manor is offering the following incentives to those interested in starting their own Alpaca herd:
· Start-up assistance
· Ongoing education and mentoring
· Discounted start-up packages
· Low financing terms, including lease-to-own options and generous guarantees
· Free Transport of any female alpaca purchased, along with a free breeding to any of Maple Hill Manor’s champion bloodlines.
· Plus, if purchased by June 30, 2010, Maple Hill Manor is offering a Buy 1/Get 1 FREE Special as part of their 10th anniversary celebration.
Proceeds from the sale of alpacas will help with business expansion. An expansion phase is now underway at Maple Hill Manor to construct an Agritourism Fiber Education Center & Event Barn.
Get a 30% discount on a Kentucky Farm Stay at Maple Hill Manor
Stay, Work and Learn on a Kentucky Farm Stay. Available year-round: Vacation on a farm. Learn how to raise and care for alpacas. Actively help with daily chores while learning about alpacas’ luxurious fiber and its many uses and working with the fiber. Receive a 30% discount for a 3-to-5 night stay, plus receive a discount on a Starter Alpaca Herd. Learn from our 10 years in the business – the innkeepers will gladly help you get started.
Alpacas may be the most environmentally-friendly livestock that exists. Here’s why:
· Alpacas have padded feet, not hooves. That means they don’t damage a delicate landscape. (Lots of heavy hooves clomping around can lead to soil erosion and weeds.)
· Alpacas don’t have upper teeth, thus they gently trim tender grass with their bottom teeth and upper palate, rather than pulling it up by its roots. Their gentle nibbling keeps grass growing – but they’re not too picky. Alpacas don’t mind eating some leaves and brush.
· A group of alpacas prefers to leave droppings in a single communal area. And if that’s not handy enough, their pellet-sized droppings make a great natural, slow-release fertilizer.
· They don’t need chemicals, insecticides, herbicides or fertilizer: Alpacas are all natural.
· They don’t eat a lot and they like hanging out with each other, so you can fit five to 10 of them on an acre.
· The best part: Shorn about once a year, usually in the spring, an alpaca will provide five to 10 pounds of some of the finest fiber in the world, and in 22 natural colors.
Benefits and rewards of raising alpacas and llamas:
· Alpaca breeding is an alternative farm lifestyle with strong income potential generated in several ways: animal sales, breeding/herdsire fees, boarding, showing, raw fiber, finished products
· Alpaca ownership creates a wide array of tax benefits (up to $120,000 in 2010)
· Alpaca farming is a fulfilling lifestyle
· Alpacas provide a diversification in your financial portfolio
· Alpacas create a commodity that is both rare and in demand worldwide
· Alpacas produce a luxury product that is in high demand. Textiles produced from fleece are known in fashion centers of New York, Paris, Milan and Tokyo.
· Alpacas live a relatively long and trouble-free reproductive lifespan of 18-25 years.
· Minimal Risk: available livestock insurance for full mortality and theft.
‘Buy 1 Alpaca/Get 1 FREE’ and 30% Discount on Farm Stay Vacations
Maple Hill Manor Bed & Breakfast Marks 10 Years of Kentucky Agriculture Adventure
SPRINGFIELD, KY – JUNE 14, 2010 – After being laid off from their corporate jobs following 9/11, Todd Allen and Tyler Horton embarked on an agriculture adventure in central Kentucky: They purchased a 150-year-old antebellum mansion known as Maple Hill Manor in Springfield and began raising alpacas and llamas and operating a Farm Stay bed and breakfast inn. To celebrate their 10-year anniversary, Maple Hill Manor is offering incentives, including “Buy 1 Alpaca/Get 1 FREE Special” and a 30% discount on a Kentucky Farm Stay vacation. Click into Maple Hill Manor’s website and see details of these two specials, the amenities of this luxury-level bed and breakfast inn and special events, including a June 19 workshop on raising alpacas.
To celebrate its 10th year in the alpaca business, Maple Hill Manor is offering a number of incentives to those interested in starting their own alpaca herd, including start-up assistance and ongoing education and mentoring. Discounted start-up packages, low financing terms, including lease-to-own options and generous guarantees, plus free transport of any female alpaca purchased – along with a free breeding to any of Maple Hill Manor’s champion bloodlines – are also offered. If purchased by June 30, 2010, Maple Hill Manor is offering a Buy 1/Get 1 FREE Special.
30% discount on farm stay
Receive a 30% discount for a 3-to-5 night stay, plus receive a discount on a Starter Alpaca Herd with Maple Hill Manor’s “Stay, Work and Learn on a Kentucky Farm Stay.” Learn how to raise and care for alpacas. Actively help with daily chores while learning about alpacas’ luxurious fiber and its many uses and working with the fiber.
Maple Hill Manor’s innkeepers work with several local artisans who make scarves, shawls, hats and gloves, blankets and other garments and gift items available for consignment in the inn’s Fiber Farm Store. They also work with local spinners and a local mill to make yarn and roving, as well as local and nationally known fiber artists for the inn’s annual fiber workshops, open farm day celebrating National Alpaca Farm Day and Holiday Historic House Tour & Alpaca Fiber Farm Store Holiday Bazaar.
Events are posted here. The next workshop, scheduled from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday, June 19, focuses on getting started with raising alpacas.
Visit Maple Hill Manor and see all the incentives and discounts currently being offered to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this working inn, where an expansion to construct an Agritourism Fiber Education Center & Event Barn is now underway.
ABOUT MAPLE HILL MANOR
Maple Hill Manor was one of the first 10 farms in Kentucky to start raising alpacas and has grown into the largest purely Suri Alpaca and Llama Breeding Program in Kentucky and features a Fiber Farm Store. The award-winning inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Kentucky Landmark Home. A working farm, it is set on 15 acres in the heart of Kentucky's Bluegrass Region, an hour southeast of Louisville and an hour southwest of Lexington. The home is considered one of the best preserved antebellum homes in the Commonwealth.
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