SDF has 600 acres of land for timber, festivals, trail rides, and farming located in Plaisance, LA
The Family Farm Cooperative (FFC)
For years now, the Southern Development Foundation, with assistance of the Ford Foundation, has spearheaded a campaign to gain acceptance for a development model that is centered around the family farm. Essentially, the model is a cooperative community consisting of numerous small farms. The model gains its strength from the motivation associated with the independent family farm operating within a cooperative framework that provides critical economies of scale. SDF is convinced that there is a future for the family farm in this country and that the FFC model can serve as a powerful development force in rural communities where heavy industrialization is unlikely to occur. Through FFC, the agricultural base of a community is strengthened, aiding the growth of a certain light industries and thereby creating additional employment. Economic development of this nature has worked successfully in a number of countries. SDF has identified several areas in this country where FFCs are in the design stages.
St. Landry Agricultural Development Corporation
Part of SDF’s development activities include the design and partial funding of the St. Landry Agricultural Development Corporation (SLADCO). SLADCO is a Louisiana corporation which is operating a 340 acre vegetable farm approximately 40 miles northwest of Lafayette, Louisiana. The farm is one of the largest vegetable operations in the state. Louisiana, a state ideally situated for vegetable production, imports roughly 90% of its vegetables from other places, primarily California and Florida. The introduction of vegetable production in the area could increase agricultural employment significantly.
The long-range objectives of SLADCO is to establish it as a mini-Family Farm Cooperative. As an FFC the SLADCO land mass would be broken up into smaller units or family plots and sold or leased to farmers. SLADCO employs an agricultural labor force of roughly 25 men and women who spend a major portion of their time in training.
Small Farmer Project
During 1978, the Southern Development Foundation was funded by the Department of Labor in the amount of $737,000 to conduct a “small-farmer/farmworker” training program. These monies came to SCDF through the Consortium for the Development of the Rural Southeast, a non-profit association consisting of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, the Emergency Land Fund, and SDF. The total amount of the Consortium’s grant from the Department of Labor was 2.68 million dollars. In all, the three organizations committed themselves to conducting agricultural training programs for 500 people in the six states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Missouri. SDF operates in program in the Louisiana parishes of St. Landry, Evangeline, and Acadia.