Once a month Alpaca Farmgirl will feature an interview with an interesting Alpaca Farmgirl. Visit this site to read about a variety of inspirational women in the alpaca industry.This month our interview is with alpaca breeder Cindy Lavan who lives in Bowdoin, Maine. Cindy and her husband, Tim, have been raising alpacas for 15 years. They have two sons who have grown up with their alpacas. As a Southern girl, I am in awe of a woman so tough that she could raise livestock in Maine! Cindy and her family do almost all the farm work. In this interview we will learn what it’s like to care for alpacas through Maine winters, how she and Tim have invested for their sons’ financial futures through alpacas, her thoughts on how the economy will affect the alpaca industry, the large role alpaca fiber plays on their farm, and more!
Q. Whose idea was it to raise alpacas, you or Tim? And how did you hear about them?
A. It was actually Tim’s idea initially. He was reading an article in the USA Today newspaper during lunch and brought home the article. I was taking graduate classes and working at a local university. I was consumed with finals and work so he contacted AOBA (the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association) to learn more. Remember this was before the Internet so we had to talk to people over the phone. We never really saw the alpacas themselves in person for quite some time. This was while we were working in Washington, D.C. and lived on Capitol Hill. Not really the perfect habitat for these lovely creatures. While D.C. is a great place to live, it’s not where we wanted to raise a family, let alone run a farm and business.
Q. A few years ago when my twins were young and I was struggling, I asked you, “How do I do all the farm chores, watch the kids, and keep the house all at the same time?” You told me to “Forget the house.” That advice has saved my sanity many days. Any other shortcuts or advice on “the daily stuff” that you can share with us?