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Youth and adult writers talk about future of agriculture

Youth and adult writers talk about future of agriculture
Results of CountryMark/Indiana Prairie Farmer essay contest are announced.

Teach young people leadership and problem-solving skills, and they offer entrepreneurial spirit and vision. Such is the case with the 2016 CountryMark/Indiana Prairie Farmer youth essay contest winners. The contest theme — “How would you grow Indiana’s agriculture industry?” — enabled youths ages 8 to 20 to create original works.

Essays had to be 250 to 300 words. Judges reviewed the entries, and their decisions are final. The winning entries will be featured here later this week.

CountryMark is generously presenting winners with cash prizes.

The 2016 youth essay contest winners are:

• First place and $250, Jordan Williams, Mount Vernon

CRUCIAL TOPIC: Adult participants in the CountryMark/Indiana Prairie Farmer essay contest wrote about what ag schools should be teaching in the future. This is Purdue University's Pfendler Hall, which preserves an old classroom on the ag campus, yet also includes a renovated, state-of-the-art conference room suitable for future instruction.

• Second place and $150, Anna Davidson, Mount Vernon

• Third place and $50, Max Parkinson, Mount Vernon

• Fourth place and $50, Haley Ritzert, Mount Vernon

Indiana agriculture’s future is in good hands. The youth essayists say ag education must stay cutting-edge.

Apparently the folks in charge of Mount Vernon schools in Posey County also feel that ag education must remain on the cutting edge. David Reese is retiring after a career spanning nearly four decades as the ag teacher and FFA advisor at Mount Vernon High School. The word from Reese is that the program, while not as large as it once was — following the same trend as the school's enrollment — has strong support from the administration and will continue full-speed ahead.

Adult entries

While farming and feeding the world are still the mainstay of agriculture, many additional emphases play an integral role. Today’s agriculture schools are challenged to be relevant and meet the needs of the industry. Entrants in the 2016 CountryMark/Indiana Prairie Farmer adult essay contest seized the opportunity to discuss this question: “What new majors or curriculum should agriculture schools offer in the next five to 10 years?”

The essays had to be between 250 and 300 words, and the entrant’s own work. Entrants must have been at least 21 years old to enter.

CountryMark is generously providing and delivering Premium Dieselex-4 off-road diesel fuel to the winners’ operations.

The 2016 adult essay contest winners are:

• First place and 500 gallons of fuel, Jackie Angle, Rushville

• Second place and 250 gallons, John Garrett, Franklin

• Third place and 150 gallons, Teresa Alley, Muncie

As one entry read, “May the future of agriculture be bright and the nation well-fed.”

Hayhurst writes from Terre Haute.

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