Residents of the Ozark Highlands of Arkansas, the “Natural State,” engaged in a battle with their rural electric cooperative over the spraying of herbicides on powerline right-of-ways. Herbicides have been sprayed against landowners’ wishes, in many cases even after they explicitly requested or posted their land not to be sprayed. The issue of herbicide applications and local resistance is not a new one, however; in 1975 the Newton County Wildlife Association (NCWA) formed to protest and legally challenge the aerial spraying of herbicides (2,4,D & 2,4,5,T) on the Ozark National Forests. NCWA succeeded in halting such aerial spraying and their legal precedent prevented the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) from using these methods in National Forests throughout the United States of America.
In the 1980s, the U.S.F.S. reintegrated herbicides into their management plans. Yet, when they conducted surveys asking residents about those plans for their National Forests, a vast majority responded that they did not want their forests sprayed with chemicals. Despite local opposition, various governmental and corporate entities continue to spray herbicides on private and public lands. This documentary employs applied anthropology, archival research, and diverse media to present the issue through the experiences and struggles of Ozarkers to protect their lands, waters, and families from biocides.
Mountain Sprout graciously donated their music as the soundtrack for the film. The film is co-produced by Ozarkadia Films and The Newton County Wildlife Association. 2007 Productions edited and directed the film.
This film screened at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, Little Rock Film Festival, Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival, Offspring Film Festival, and won the 2011 Society for Applied Anthropology Video Award. Dan Anderson, then Director of the Hot Springs Film Festival, described it as "one of my all-time top Arkansas films."
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