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CountryMark Essay Contest Offers Cash to Kids!

Urge your youngsters to pen their thoughts about agriculture.

There's still time for your kids or grandkids in grades seven through 12 to tell us what they think about 'Educating the Public about Agriculture.' If they do it better than anyone else that enters the competition, they will receive $200 for their efforts. The cash award is made possible by CountryMark, co-sponsor of this first ever Indiana Prairie Farmer/ CountryMark youth essay contest.

There are also cash awards for second through sixth place in this competition. The second place winner will receive $100, and those who finish in third through sixth place will each receive $50. That's a sizable reward for penning a maximum of 300 words about the need to educate the public about agriculture.

The idea for the contest came from Susan and Terry Hayhurst, a farm couple operating a livestock and grain farm near Terre Haute in Vigo County. Active as Indiana Farm Bureau members and in other ag groups across the state, both noticed a big need for telling agriculture's story to the public in a positive way. Susan also writes Hayhurst's Hayloft and participates as a Focus on Young Farmers panelist in each edition of Indiana Prairie Farmer. You can find the magazine current as of last month on-line at: Susan also contributes free-lance articles from time-to-time, helping capture the heartbeat of west-central Indiana for Indiana Prairie Farmer.
She is heading up details about this youth ag essay contest.

All good ideas need support to make them reality. Belinda Puetz, CountryMark's communications manager, was excited to jump on board and promote the idea. CountryMark will be putting up the cash that will be divided amongst deserving young people who take time to study and write their thoughts about why educating the public is important. Hopefully, some may also offer good ideas about how farmers and the agricultural industry can go about doing a better job of informing the non-farm public about both the importance and challenges of modern agriculture.

Teachers are encouraged to consider making this essay either optional or part of a class project for their students. Entries must be postmarked by Feb. 15. Each entry should be included by a cover letter that specifies the young writer's name, parent or guardian's name, address, phone number and email address. Send entries to: Susan Hayhurst, 14477 S. Carlisle Street, Terre Haute, IN 47802.

Indiana Prairie Farmer reserve the right to publish any or all essays it deems appropriate in upcoming issues of the magazine, and/or on the Web site. Winners will be announced in the April issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer.

An independent panel of judges familiar with both agriculture in Indiana and communications will judge the essays. Decisions of the judges will be final.

So don't miss out on your chance, or your favorite youngster's chance, to cash in on his or her writing skills and thoughts, and perhaps also see their work in print and/or online at the same time. Just don't forget that the clock is ticking on the deadline for entries into this new event.

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