For this week’s Longreads Member Pick, we’re excited to share early access to “The Post-GMO Economy,” a new story by Elizabeth Royte that will be published next week by Modern Farmer, in partnership with the Food and Environment Reporting Network.
Thanks to Elizabeth Royte, Modern Farmer and FERN for sharing this story, and thanks to the Longreads community for your support.
As an invulnerable tween, Chris Huegerich, the child of a prosperous farming family, wiped out on his motorcycle in tiny Breda, Iowa. Forty years on, folks still call Huegerich “Crash.” And though he eventually went down a conventional path (married, divorced) and bought out his parents’ farm, Huegerich has recently reverted to his daredevil ways — at least when it comes to choosing what kind of corn to plant.
It’s late November, and Huegerich’s 2,800 acres in central Iowa have been neatly shorn to sepia-and-umber stubble. His enormous combines and cultivators have been precision parked — wheel nut to headlight — inside his equipment sheds. But in Huegerich’s office, between the fields and the sheds, chaos reigns. A dozen dog-eared seed catalogs litter a table, along with marked-up spreadsheets and soil maps. For farmers choosing next year’s crop, this is decision time.
Photo by erdquadrat, Flickr