“The Natural State of America” is about a four decade struggle to prevent unnecessary herbicide use in the beautiful and biodiverse Arkansas Ozarks. The U.S. Forest Service has sprayed herbicides in the Ozark National Forest for years for their vegetative management. Recently, a rural electric cooperative that covers much of the Ozarks has started spraying to maintain their powerline right-of-ways.
The film follows concerned residents, environmental activists, and organic farmers. Many of the anti-herbicide advocates are from Newton County, which is known for its pristine nature. There are no stoplights or railroads to be found in the entire county. The residents there are closer to nature, to say the least.
The Newton County Wildlife Association was formed in the 1970’s to successfully halt the U.S. Forest Service plans for aerial application of herbicides 2,4D and 2,4,5T (Agent Orange) in the Ozark National Forest. Now, they are battling their rural electric coop, Carroll Electric, in order to protect the region’s organic farms, wells, springs, and the Buffalo River, the first National River in the United States, from being contaminated by herbicides.