Campti Field of Dreams (DREAMS) has been working with the following United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agencies: National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Rural Development (RD) in order to reach out to underserved groups such as beginning farmers and ranchers, veterans, women, minority groups, specialty crop producers and other non-traditional farmers. Recently, one such individual, Waylon Breaux, a beginning, limited-resource farmer that plans on growing specialty crops began volunteering with the organization.
Waylon is an ex-offender, having been incarcerated for twelve years. While incarcerated, he worked for five years in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center’s greenhouse. Upon his release, he joined DREAMS and has been a full-time volunteer helping the organization create a sustainable agriculture demonstration farm.
Having a passion for gardening and growing plants, Waylon plans to create his own farm based business that will focus on small fruits, culinary herbs and value added products. He is currently attending a small business class being given by the Louisiana Small Business Development Center, in association with DREAMS, so that he can learn how to create and run a small business. All that he needs now is assistance to begin farming.
There are programs available to help Waylon. For instance, NRCS has the High Tunnel System Initiative that will help him extend the growing season for his crops in an environmentally safe manner. FSA also offers low interest loans of up to $50,000 to beginning and non-traditional farmers who would like to start or grow an agricultural based business. Rural Development can also provide housing assistance in the event that he would seek to purchase his first home or rehab an existing home.
All of these organizations offer their help and information for free. DREAMS works hard to connect people with the help that they need through outreach meetings covering eight parishes in Northwest Louisiana (Caddo, De Soto, Red River, Natchitoches, Grant, Rapides, Vernon and Sabine. To learn more about upcoming meetings or USDA programs that may assist you, other friends or family members including beginning farmers and ranchers, veterans, women, minority groups, and specialty crop producers, you can contact Donna Isaacs at Campti Field of Dreams, 318-332-7791 (www.CamptiFieldofDreams.org) or USDA Natchitoches, 6949 Louisiana Highway 1 Bypass, Natchitoches, LA, 71457, 318-357-8366.