ABBEVILLE, La., Oct. 22 (UPI) — Operators of gator farms throughout Louisiana say they’re hurting financially because the recession has taken a big bite out of orders.
Craig Sagrera, co-owner of the Vermilion Gator Farm in Abbeville, La., said his business has lost nearly $20 million in revenue during the last year as sales of luxury watches and designer purses made with alligator skins declined significantly, USA Today reported Thursday.
“By February of next year, we’re going to have to start making some hard decisions,” Sagrera said.
Michael Ragusa, owner of the Circle M Ranch alligator farm in Hammond, La., said his inventories remain full and he has been forced to use a loan to maintain his business during the recession.
“It’s been tough,” Ragusa told USA Today. “We all have lots of inventories and no money. We have big numbers of gators on the farm and (they) eat a lot every day.”
Sagrera estimates it costs $100 to raise a single alligator from egg to harvest. Of those alligators, 19 percent must be released into the wild under state law.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International