Connie Betts says about the transition she and her husband, Thomas, made in 2004 from suburban dwellers to owning Casade Alpacas of Oregon, "All the stars aligned":
- The Bettses were able to sell the house in which they had raised their two children and to use the money to buy a rural home with enough property, and the right zoning, for raising farm animals.
- The couple found a buyer for Thomas' 41-foot sailboat, and those funds paid for their first alpacas, which can range in price from a few hundred dollars for a gelded male to more than $10,000 for fertile females or studs with good pedigrees.
- After leaving his Portland job and while preparing their Hood River property, Thomas worked part-time managing a neighbor's alpaca ranch in order to earn some money and gain hands-on experience with alpacas.
- Thomas can handle much of the physical work involved in caring for the alpacas and ranch structures, such as the fences and barns. A trained machinist, he designs and builds his own equipment. (In fact, some restraining ropes and a "pooper" scooper he created are sold by a farm supplier.) On occasion, Thomas works freelance for a local machine shop.
- The Bettses' ranch is within commuting distance of an urban area. Because of that, if they need to re-engage in the traditional workforce, they can do so without having to relocate.
- Connie's job as a technical writer has allowed her to work part-time and from home. When she went full-time in order to offset the costs of buying more land to expand the ranch, she was still able to write from her home office. Working as a full-time employee of a company, she also provides herself and her husband with employer-sponsored group health insurance.