The Modern Farmer 2016 Favorites: Longreads

Matt Nager

All week, we'll be posting round-ups of some of our favorite stories from 2016. Check back daily for a new collection.

Got some downtime during the holidays and feel like digging into some of the craziest, weirdest, and most fascinating stories from the agricultural world?

This year, Modern Farmer published thousands of articles, ranging from photo essays to quick news hits to investigative reporting. As writers and editors, we’re naturally drawn to the more involved, complex work we do each year: the in-depth narratives, the explainers, the stories behind the stories. Our favorite features this year ranged dramatically in subject, from the struggle to scientifically kickstart the marijuana industry to the impact supermergers like Monsanto/Bayer have on farmers to the weird worlds of mushroom foraging and mink fur farms. Here are some of our best.

Reel evaluates seeds from a field experiment. She’ll examine yields, germination rates, and more before selecting the genesis of future breeding lines.

Reel evaluates seeds from a field experiment. She’ll examine yields, germination rates, and more before selecting the genesis of future breeding lines.

The Other Cannabis, by Virginia Gewin: How can a 21st century scientist with the extremely sick name of Bear Reel move the cannabis industry forward through a maze of red tape?

 

ABOVE Retired farmer Florence Howard is the granddaughter of George Moore and Effie Johnson, among the freed slaves who first migrated to the Kansas town.

ABOVE Retired farmer Florence Howard
is the granddaughter of George Moore and Effie Johnson, among the freed slaves who first migrated
to the Kansas town.

This Land Is Our Land, by Errin Haines Whack: The descendants of the first free-slave farmers are doing everything possible to keep their legacy—and their land—alive.

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Meal-Kit Mania, Unpacked, by Brian Barth: Blue Apron and its ilk are trying to disrupt the dinner table. But what about the farmers providing the food?

 

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How Will The Monsanto-Bayer Merger Affect Everyday Farmers?, by Dan Nosowitz: The joining of the two biggest megacorps in seed and chemicals is just one in a series of mergers that could destroy agriculture as we know it.

 

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Mushroom Foraging: Farming the Forest Floor, by Brian Barth: The seedy underbelly of high-end mushroom foraging, revealed. With all its motel rooms, crime, and cold, hard cash intact.

 

Caption TK. Alexandre Chabot

Alexandre Chabot

J.M. Fortier and the Rise of the High-Profit Micro Farm, by Jesse Frost: One Quebec farmer claims his micro-farm earns six figures…per acre. How does he do it?

 

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The Dirty Truth About Cold-Pressed Juice, by Elizabeth Royte: Unlike smoothies, pressed juice produces lots and lots of waste in the form of pulp. This is the quest to use it.

 

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A Flower-Farming Renaissance: America’s Slow Flower Movement, by Kristine Wong: The cut-flower industry in the US is almost entirely based on imports. Can a Seattle-based domestic effort bring it home?

 

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Inside the Carefully Cultivated World of Ice Farming, by Davina van Buren: Who knew ice farming was even a thing?

 

A row of enclosures, each with a covered nesting box.

A row of enclosures, each with a covered nesting box.

Mink on the Brink, by Lynsey Grosfield: There may be no more controversial topic in the agriculture field than fur farming. Our writer heads to Denmark to actually talk with some farmers.

 

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Here Are 5 Issues That Caused Farmers To Vote For Trump, by Dan Nosowitz: Farmers came out in droves to elect Donald Trump. The reasons why shine a harsh light on the dirty world of farming.

 

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Still Life With Mass Hysteria, by Brian Barth: The truth behind the GMO outcry.

The Modern Farmer 2016 Favorites: Longreads