Fluker scholarship to encourage insect studies
David Fluker has an interest in insects that has been passed down through generations — and he wants to share his passion with others.
Fluker, a second-generation cricket farmer and owner of Fluker’s Cricket Farm Inc. in Port Allen, has created a joint scholarship with the LSU College of Agriculture and the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine aimed at encouraging graduate students who share that interest in studying insects.
The Fluker family started their farm in 1953 to supply crickets to bait shops for fishing. Fluker began working there at 11.
Just 19 when his father retired, Fluker took over the ownership of the operation and began investing heavily in the feeder insect research of the company. He expanded the farm’s offerings to include other insects, such as mealworms and hissing cockroaches, as well as superworms.
Fluker said he created this scholarship because his company is working on a large insect project. Through bioconversion of food waste destined for landfills, Fluker plans to use protein sources to develop feedstock for fish, chickens, cows and other animals.
“It will take pressure off fisheries of the world for fish meal,” he said.
The scholarship is directed at students with a degree in the agriculture, biological science or veterinary science fields.
Graduate students will receive “real life experiences working with insects at the front end of the food chain,” Fluker said.
Fluker’s advice to students interested in the field of entomology is motivational and enlightening.
“There’s so much opportunity and there’s so much potential in this particular field,” he said. “Think big. Insects, as far as food goes, are a frontier as a newly developing field.”
Writer: Amari Baker