By Amy Berg, Staff Writer
An alpaca isn’t the first animal one would expect to see while driving around southwestern Minnesota.
But passers-by driving west of Morgan are in for a pleasant surprise. If the weather is nice, the cute, furry creatures can be seen in the pasture.
“They like to lay out and sunbathe like humans,” farmer Richard Wildt said.
Richard and his wife Agnes have raised alpacas since 1985.
“Having livestock is a seven day a week job,” Richard said with a smile.
The Wildts bought the farm in 1958, and lived and raised their four children there. Their son Patrick now lives on the farm site along with wife Colleen and their family.
In 2012 Richard and Agnes moved to New Ulm.
“I joke that he finally took me back home after 50 years,” Agnes said with a smile. She is originally from New Ulm.
“We are here 365 days of the year,” Richard said. “60 miles round trip every day.”
Farming his whole life, Richard knew he wanted to raise livestock. He chose alpacas because they were said to bring a high return on the investment.
Alpacas originally hail from Bolivia, Peru, and Chile, and are relatives to camels and llamas.
The Wildts’ herd started with six females and one male.
“I was in partnership with another guy,” Richard said. The partnership also included llamas.
Before their alpacas left South America, they had to stay in a 60-day quarantine in their country of origin, which was Chile. Once they arrived in the United States, they had to stay another 90 days in quarantine.
“They went through a lot to make sure no parasites were brought in,” Richard said.
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