Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiii

This book finds its origins in my many conversations with environmental historian James E. Sherow. Our discussions about the region’s technological, agricultural, and environmental relationships started me down a scholarly road of great challenges and joys that ultimately resulted in this study. I am also particularly...

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Introduction: “The Sinister Touch of the Poison”

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pp. 1-9

If, in the springtime, you find yourself traveling East on Interstate 70 from Colorado through Kansas toward Missouri, or West through Nebraska to Wyoming on Interstate 80, you may witness aerial acrobatics usually reserved for air shows or agricultural fairs. Yellow spray planes take flight over nearby fields. These aircraft are quite impressive...

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1. Making Chemical-Agricultural Landscapes

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pp. 10-22

In 1951 Vincent Sauchelli published his Manual on Phosphates in Agriculture for county agents, agricultural teachers, and farmers. As a poisonous nonmetal common in natural environments, phosphorus seemed to take on a life of its own in his text: “I am PHOSPHORUS. I was ancient when man was created...

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2. Creating New Pests, Experts, and Risks

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pp. 23-40

Weed scientists L. W. Kephart and S. W. Griffin joined their fellow panelists at the North Central Weed Control Conference in 1944 to ask a basic question: What will happen to herbicides after the war? Foreshadowing the conflict that would come in the next four decades over agricultural chemicals, both men connected...

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3. Spraying the Airplane Way

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pp. 41-61

The United States Department of Agriculture published one of the first aerial spraying manuals in 1954. “How to Spray the Aircraft Way” tried to both capture the mystique of deploying pesticides on farms and its technical requirements. Images of Ag pilots rising early, checking weather, air and ground temperatures...

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4. Toxic Standards and Fables

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pp. 62-82

The growth of grassland aerial application prompted new cultural views about the poisons sprayed and the fields saved.1 As we have seen, insecticides and herbicides fostered new expertise that mixed local knowledge with laboratory expertise, helped build a new Ag airplane, and connected aerial environments...

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5. Regional Politics, National Debates, and the Ag-1 Program

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pp. 83-109

In the 1950s the North Central Weed Control Conference included as many panels on aerial spraying as on weed prevention. As regional anxieties about pesticides and agricultural aviation persisted throughout the grasslands, the NCWCC stood at the intersection of local knowledge and scientific expertise when it came...

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6. Spraying Grasslands Abroad

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pp. 110-127

Fred Weick’s early efforts to standardize aerial spraying throughout the grasslands placed chemical and agricultural aviation industries at the intersection of environmental health and politics. The views held by pilots, farmers, and weed scientists about how pesticides protected agricultural health encouraged new technological advancements...

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Conclusion: Agricultural Aviation at the Dawn of a Chemical-Digital Age

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pp. 128-136

Throughout the 1970s evolving views of agricultural health and environmental health continued to inform how aerial applicators, weed scientists, and farmers understood risk, safety, and toxicity. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency began to incorporate these critiques from pilots...

Notes

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pp. 137-160

Bibliography

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pp. 161-180

Index

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pp. 181-194