We began before dawn driving northwest of Elaine to film the thousands of migrating birds that flock to the delta each year. The decision was not purely aesthetic; many landowners are paid large amounts of money to flood their fields in order to attract these birds. Mary Olson, director of the Elaine Legacy Center, remarked that the geese are a lucrative presence in the area for hunting. Further, other areas, even as far away as Mississippi, have attempted to lure the birds by flooding land.
In the afternoon, we were joined by James White, a local business owner who also works at the Elaine Community Center. Mr. White rode along with the crew to discuss the properties south of Elaine where some of the most affluent residents of the delta live. Despite the overall poverty of the county, many of the larger corporations that profit off the land have received tens of millions of dollars each in subsidies. Tomorrow will focus on questioning prominent figures in Phillips county about these subsidies, focusing on the lack of infrastructure and social mobility for the citizens in the community who are not receiving the multimillion dollar subsidies allotted to their corporate neighbors.