Representatives from the Cargill-U.S. Aquaculture division presented the LSU AgCenter with a $47,306 check on Aug. 22 to help finance alligator research at the Aquaculture Research Station in Baton Rouge.

The donation is part of the “Gator-bate” agreement between Cargill and alligator farmers to apply a portion of their feed cost to sponsor research conducted by the AgCenter.

John Russin, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor and director for the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station, said the donation makes it possible to have research-based information that’s shared by the industry, which has never been done before.

“In the past, each grower did what worked for him and rarely shared that information with others in the industry,” Russin said. “Without research they really couldn’t explain whether they were feeding too much or too little, and that can get expensive.”

David Hines, Cargill business development manager, called it a “win-win situation” for the farmers, his company and the AgCenter. “This allows us to learn from the research and develop better feed products for the growers.” 

Cargill has agreed to give 50 cents for every dollar the growers give toward the LSU AgCenter alligator research initiative.

Robert Reigh, director of the Aquaculture Research Station, said the building the growers funded last year should be open by the end of this calendar year.

“This new research facility will provide a place where we can focus just on alligators,” Reigh said. “The growers have been asking for research on alligators. Now we have a facility to conduct that research.”

Nathan Wall, owner of Wall’s Alligator Farm in Springfield, said the Cargill donation is good for everyone involved.

“I’m just very impressed with the level of cooperation between all areas of the industry from wildlife and fisheries to the landowners to the AgCenter,” Wall said. “We are all a part of this. Everybody is involved, and everybody is on board and moving forward.”