“David Bagshaw, left, watches as his wife, Jean Van Effen,
interacts with the alpacas on the family farm in Yelm. The couple,
both Army veterans, recently constructed their own fiber mill on the farm.”
Courtesy: Northwest Guardian
– “Retirees now live as alpaca farmers”
“When Jean Van Effen and her husband, David Bagshaw, transitioned to civilian life after decades of military service — both as musicians with Army bands — the couple retired to a 10-acre farm in Yelm.
They’d already purchased their first alpaca and knew the prolific, fiber-bearing livestock would be part of their retirement.
Now, with a herd of 25 alpacas, a fencing project on the farm that’s nearly completed, the construction of a fiber production mill beside their home, it’s been a learning experience and a labor of love.
‘We’re living the alpaca life,’ said Van Effen regarding the name of their farm, ‘La Vida Alpaca.’
The couple hooked up with the Farmer Veteran Coalition, an organization that supports veterans-turned-entrepreneurs, and is licensed to use its “Homegrown by Heroes” label on products made at the couple’s facility,” by Ruth Kingsland, Northwest Guardian.