Furnished Farms For Lecanto - 1926


Everything Is Provided At Lecanto, In Citrus County, Even To A Ready Market, with no cost for one year.

The man who makes two blades of grass grow where only one grew before may be a benefactor of humanity, but a fellow who converts a material that has always been an absolute waste into a valuable product, and in so doing converts wild land into fertile farms and also puts farmers on the land, would seem to have him beaten. That’s what A. A. Marshall, former New Yorker, is doing at the village of Lecanto, in Citrus county, 70 miles from Tampa.

Mr. Marshall is one man in Florida who has nothing whatever to sell. The corporation behind the project he is working out is not trying to dispose of stock or bonds. The farms that are being developed, 10, 20 and 40 acre tracts, can’t be bought until the men farming them have tried them out for a year and have demonstrated their ability as producers and their adaptability for assimilation into the Lecanto program.

Lecanto’s basic industry is an immense plant now about 50 percent completed for the distillation of wood oils from stumps, sawdust, waste timber and the like. The oils are not for sale; the entire output is taken by the big copper refining interests for use in recovery of copper by the flotation process. But in planning the plant and providing the raw material the fact speedily became apparent that a plentiful food supply was necessary and that it did not exist in Lecanto. The small farm plan was the result of this discovery.

Must Be Producers

Starting with a tract of about 640 acres, constituting the town site, Mr. Marshall, with his principal’s approval, let it be known that farms from 10 to 40 acres might be obtained by men of family, provided they checked up properly on investigation, provided they were workers, and provided they showed themselves to be producers. Such men might obtain farms, be provided with necessary implements, fertilizers, seeds, etc., their living assured until actual production started, a written agreement made that the company would buy all of their produce and pay current market prices in cash for it, and all without the expenditure of a dollar by the farmer. Such an agreement is to extend over a period of one year; if at the end of the year the farmer has shown that he is a producer, and if he and the company is mutually satisfied, then, and not until then, can a farmer enter into a contract for the purchase of the farm, having five to ten years to pay for it.

“Call it a dream, a wild idea, if you want to,” said Mr. Marshall. “The fact back of it all is just this…to establish here and to operate a plant employing several hundred men with families, made a food supply necessary. It wasn’t here so we had to provide for it. Lumbering and other operations also are to be carried on, and Lecanto is to have several other industries besides. We want to build here, right in the center of Citrus county, a real city where all of the interests will pull together. By hand picking our farmers and making it possible for them to try things out for a year without spending any of their money, we believe we have taken out insurance against dissatisfaction and made sure that we shall have farmers who will stay and continue to produce crops, etc., profitably, year after year. It’s no Utopian project; It’s simply a matter of self preservation on our part.”

Can’t Spend Money

Already a score of more of farmers from Ohio, Illinois and Iowa, with one or two from Michigan and one from Colorado, are tilling farms at Lecanto and more are coming. It doesn’t matter how much or how little money they may bring with them; they can’t spend a dollar of it for land, implements, fertilizer, seed, taxes and the like during the experimental year…all of these are provided by Mr. Marshall. As the company’s operations are extended,, more land will be cleared and more little farms will be made available for cultivation, and this process will probably continue for several years. Meanwhile, development of the town itself, establishment of several industrial plants already made certain, and growth of a new business center for Citrus county, appears reasonably stead growing markets for vegetables, eggs, butter, milk, poultry, fruits and their farm products.

Lecanto is 70 miles northwest of Tampa, 26 miles northwest of Brooksville, 10 miles west of Inverness, 18 miles southeast of Crystal River and eight miles east of the new town of Homosassa. It is on two paved highways, in a region of rolling, well timbered hills. It has several crystal clear lakes and streams and its water supply is unexcelled anywhere. The woods about Lecanto are full of game, ranging from deer and wild turkeys to quail and dove, while the lakes and streams are full of game fish. Citrus county has always made remarkable exhibits at the South Florida Fair in Tampa and has won many ribbons for its fruits, vegetables and grains. In appearance the region is unlike what most people feature Florida to be. A northern visitor in Florida, driving over the smooth bitulthic road into the village recently exclaimed: “Why, this surely isn’t Florida. It looks more like Maryland to me.”

But nobody is handing out farms in Maryland for a year’s trial, with everythin provided, even to a market. 

Source: Tampa Tribune: 5-16-1926

Transcribed, Formatted and Submitted by Linda Flowers 

This Page Created January 10, 2015
Copyrighted 2015- Linda Flowers
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