Special Retirement Announcement

After 21 fulfilling years in this wonderful American Alpaca Industry filled with such diverse, interesting, and entrepreneurial people, Magical Farms is retiring. Jerry and Libby are enjoying much more time in Florida, happy and healthy, trading in the the clouds of Ohio’s winter for the steady Gulf breeze and the shade of palm trees. However, don’t be surprised to see Jerry continue to attend alpaca shows, as the animals, the people, and the excitement of the industry are something we’re sure he can never fully get away from.

We have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the American Alpaca Industry’s Marketing and Registry efforts from the early days of AOBA and ARI, through such significant events as Registry Closure, the building of both entities into strong and internationally respected Breed Organizations, all the way through the recent Merger into the streamlined Alpaca Owners Association.

We have enjoyed the evolution of the Show system, from some of the early shows which took place under a single tent in a breeder’s pasture, to the vibrant, highly competitive, and incredibly well-run shows of today that showcase huge numbers of animals and fleeces from all across the country. What a fantastic progression!

We have seen the fiber market advance from the early days with hand-shears unsure of how best to “just get the fiber off” and then wondering what to do with it, to a highly sophisticated and scientifically verified shearing process with a fiber market that includes a broad range of opportunities from the cottage market, to the burgeoning mini-mills, to the co-operative models, to selling highly regarded American Fiber directly into the International Market.

Lastly, and most importantly, we have enjoyed the people in this industry, the alpacas, and the day-to-day operations of our Ohio home. The Magical Farms herd quality, density, conformation, and even color range has advanced dramatically in the 21 years we have cared for and bred these treasured animals; while at the same time their gentle curiosity, calming nature, and intelligent inquisitive glances out of those oversized eyes have not changed one bit. We feel blessed to have had alpacas as a part of our lives, and can only hope that in their own way they have felt the same about us.

Participating in all of these on-Farm and Industry moments through the day to day stewardship of the Farm and the Magical herd, regular participation in the shows, as well as the many hours of Board Membership, Committee Participation, and Volunteerism have instilled in us a deep admiration and appreciation of the alpaca, this industry, and the creativity and passions of the people who care for these animals. We would like to say Thank You, it has been an incredible 21 years!

It was a long winter…

As you can see from the pictures posted during the Winter months, it was a pretty long cold winter here in Northeast Ohio.  So we decided that we can all use a little sun, a little fun, and perhaps even a drink with a tiny umbrella in it… this year the Breeder’s Choice Barn Theme will be BEACH PARTY at Magical Farms!  Visit our website for the sign-up pages and join us for the fun at the 15th Annual Breeder’s Choice Auction!

Breeder's Choice Auction at Magical Farms

The 2014 Breeder’s Choice Barn Theme is BEACH PARTY!


The low, pulpy, and ever-present clouds of Ohio’s winter continue to repaint our pastures with a fresh coat of white, while trees swaying along the fencelines crackle and creak in protest of the frigid temperatures. The wind, in spite of these formal objections, simply laughs and continues to pile snow at their feet. It has been one of Ohio’s coldest winters on record in terms of persistent sub-zero temperatures, and the effects have been both wide-ranging and in many cases costly.


The Weather Channel says WHAT?

Sometimes, though, the harshest conditions seem to bring out the best in people and animals. The alpacas wait patiently as we dig out pasture gates or break up frozen water buckets, watching intently with their own special mix of curiosity and appreciation. Mothers help their little ones into the straw-lined warmth of the shelter, while as a herd they huddle up to combine body-heat and share insulation in preparation for another long and cold night.

While I would love to wax poetic on the awesome power and serene beauty of winter, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I was looking forward to the warming days, some sunshine, and March 9th’s priceless contribution of Daylight Saving time. I daresay the alpacas, and this year much of the country, feel the same.

Enjoy the spring, whenever we see it!

-Ty Forstner

Groundhog Day 2014

Appropriately, much of this is copied from a post on Feb 2nd, 2013 – if you’ve even seen the Bill Murray movie you know what I mean – much like each day in the movie, today seems only incrementally different from a year ago.

In today’s world of 24-hour spin-centric news cycles, fast moving and often uninformed social media, endless predictions followed by extensive hindsight interpretation of why the predictions and predictors were wrong, and nearly zero accountability for any of it… I have to say that today, February 2nd, I truly find it refreshing to get my news and predictions from a marmot.

Magical Farms after an ice stormThis morning Punxsutawney “Phil” predicted six more weeks of winter.  For many of us, it has already been a very long, very cold one – but there is certainly still beauty to be found in it.  We have six more weeks to keep looking.

Whether Phil turns out to be right or wrong (seriously, how often is your local weather forecaster right?), taking a step back from the top-hats and ceremony that now accompany and commercialize Groundhog Day in Pennsylvania, don’t you think it is time we listen a little less to CNN, Fox News, Superbowl predictions, Foreign Policy spin, the negative bias in Social Media, and all of the talking heads du jour, and begin listening a little more closely to our furry friends?

Their standard of accountability, which in many cases is life or death, is a finer whetstone for honing predictive skills than a potential rise or fall in Nielsen Ratings.

Big News for the 2014 Magical Farms Customer Herdsire Showcase


The Magical Farms Herdsire Catalog and Customer Herdsire Showcase are Going Mobile, and your eligible Herdsire is invited too!

Our customers have been asking for a high impact, lower cost avenue to promote their male in the Customer Herdsire Showcase – and we heard you!

The ubiquity of large-screen smartphones, tablets, and iPads has finally made a mobile publication truly accessible, so for 2014 we will be exclusively publishing the Magical Farms Herdsire Catalog and Customer Herdsire Showcase digitally for iBooks, Android devices, and PDF readers everywhere!

It will be distributed to the full membership and forwarded to all of our new incoming sales leads as well.

And the best news? With this new technology we have been able to be more inclusive and drop the fee substantially!

The 2014 Catalog will be an exciting Three-Part e-publication running from approximately March 2014 to March 2015:

Magical Farms Herdsire Catalog – Animals owned in full or part by Magical Farms

Magical Farms Customer Herdsire Showcase
Males purchased directly from Magical Farms
inclusion is $75 per eligible male

Magical Farms Genetics Showcase (new!)
Males resulting from Breedings Purchased from Magical Farms
inclusion is $125 per eligible male

Now more than ever it is important to get your herdsire’s name out there, and we are excited to make our customers a part of it – market your Herdsire across the country, and around the world, in this professionally produced publication!

Contact us today to include your eligible male!

Merger Discussion of ARI and AOBA

Dear fellow alpaca breeder, alpaca owner and fiber enthusiast,

My name is Libby Forstner and my family owns Magical Farms in Litchfield, Ohio. The purpose of this email is to encourage you to vote to approve the merging of AOBA and ARI.

I am the immediate past President of the AOBA Board of Directors and past Board President of the ARI Board of Directors. I appreciated the trust the memberships of both organizations placed in me in the past and did my best to serve well. I am reminding you of this recent, past service only to point out my experiences and knowledge with both entities from an organizational perspective. As a member like you, I often interact with both organizations and am aware of the realities of having a splintered industry where we are represented by not one, but two, different organizations.

The memberships of both organizations are nearly the same which has resulted in duplicate overhead expenses which could easily be eliminated. Both staffs work well together and the time has never been better for such a merger. Going forward, the Board and staff would be familiar, strong and dedicated.

Financially both organizations are currently stable having made difficult decisions to downsize and do more with less. However, one only has to look at the financial statements of BOTH organizations to see the downward trend of revenues and resultant dropping expenditures. Both organizations are at the point of having to cut services or streamline further, something pretty impossible as separate entities.

I retired from the AOBA Board at the recent 2013 AOBA meeting in May, 2013. At that time I was withholding my support of merger pending my review of the final two documents: the new By laws and the Plan of Merger. My goal was to assure that the CORE responsibilities of both organizations would live on in our new organization. Core responsibilities such as registration, marketing, show system needed to continue. Of course I was also concerned that costs and services would be the same or less and that the model created would allow for an improvement in services. (eg: Imagine one organization where you could register for a show but not have to worry about sending certificates because the show association and the Registry were in the same organization!). I was also concerned that our staffs would be well cared for in the new organization. I wanted to make certain that an associate membership was created for members who did not care about voting or participating in every ARI or AOBA program. After having participated in almost all of the joint discussions and the negotiations between these two organizations and having reviewed the final documents, I am convinced that as both an ARI member and an AOBA, both memberships and organizations will both be stronger and better off in a merged model with one united organization representing them. I urge you to check out the documents yourself and vote for merger.

There is a lot of misinformation out in the industry. I personally would contact either Board President (Dianna Jordan or Bonnie Potter) or either organization’s Executive (Darby Vannier or Margie Ault) for factual answers to questions you may have after reading the documents.

As always, THANKS for “listening”!

Libby Forstner, M.B.A.
Co-owner of Magical Farms and past member of the Board of Directors of both AOBA and ARI