Delta and Pine Land Company, Scott MSThursday, November 10, 2005
Delta and Pine Land Company (D and PL for short) is in Scott, MS. D and PL is a breeder, producer, and marketer of cotton seed and soybean seed for use here in the US and overseas. They produce the "Roundup Ready" cotton seeds that Av and I have used in the tiny area we grow cotton in.
My WPA book (the Works Progress Administration's division, the Federal Writers' Project, wrote guides in the '30s on each of the states - I have the WPA book for Alabama and one for Mississippi (I'd like to have all of them) and they are fascinating looks at how things were then) says this about Scott and the D and PL:
At Scott, 67.4 m. (140 alt., 300 pop.) are the headquarters of the Delta and Pine Land Co. Plantation, the country's largest plantation, containing 38,000 acres, 11700 are in cotton; the whole is under the supervision of 12 unit managers, and is worked by 1000 black sharecroppers. The value of the property is about $5,000,000.
The company maintains a school, church, and hospital for tenants, the croppers paying a $.75-per-acre hospital fee annually - thus a man who worked 12 acres would be assessed $9 a year for hospitalization. Women are encouraged to go to the hospital for confinement rather than to depend upon midwives. Vaccination for small-pox and typhoid, inoculations against malaria, and anti-syphilitic injections are offered as part of the medical service. Tenant cabins, unscreened but stoutly built, are above the Delta average in quality. The tenants eat the usual pork, molasses, and cornbread, but an attempt is made to make up vitamin deficiencies by supplying them with free yeast. It is estimated that the average tenant here clears about $300 a year above subsistence.
Oscar Johnston, a native Mississippian, took over the management of the company in 1928; since then the plantation has shown a notable profit for the first time since its establishment in 1910. Johnston was in 1933 Finance Director of the AAA, and later manager of the Federal cotton pool.
The road leading from State 1 to the Scott railway station is an experiment made to find new uses for cotton. A heavy coat of tar was applied to the old graveled roadbed, over this was laid cotton fabric, and this in turn was overlaid with an asphalt coating. Theoretically, the cotton mesh absorbs moisture, thus lessening the amount of expansion and contractionsof the roadbed caused by changes in temperature. These changes are in some part responsible for cracks in paving. The half-mile cotton textile road was built in 1935.
Below are pics leading up to the Delta and Pine Land Company in Scott. This is the season when the cotton modules are going in and everything is ginned.