The first-place winner in the youth division of the annual Indiana Prairie Farmer/CountryMark essay contest was Jordan Williams, Mount Vernon. The contest is sponsored by CountryMark and Indiana Prairie Farmer.
The topic this year was, "How would you grow Indiana’s agriculture industry?"
Here is Williams' essay:
“The agriculture industry is a major part of Indiana’s economy. Without it there would be a drastic drop in jobs for everyone. With this knowledge, promoting agriculture in the state would help in many ways and would be a very positive thing to do. My idea for this would be more ag classes to spread the word of how important agriculture is, and to get more people interested.
“If there are not new and upcoming generations learning the practice of agriculture, the world is going to fall apart. The ability for these people to learn at an early age is invaluable. By offering more agriculture classes, there will be more opportunity to appeal to more people and get others interested.
“Some schools do not even offer any type of agriculture classes, limiting the students’ options. Simply adding these classes would spread the word of agriculture and gain the interest of others. If these students take agriculture classes, they will be better suited and ready to join the workforce in an agriculture field. Many people may not realize the importance of agriculture to society. The simple fact is that we would not be able to function without it. Possibly, if more people learn this importance in school, they would be compelled to get a job in the agriculture field.
"There is the ever-pressing need for more workers in the agriculture field. I believe the solution to this would be spreading the word of agriculture in high school classes. Schools are designed to teach the students valuable information. Why leave out something as important as agriculture? If schools could better their agriculture programs or add these classes, this would grow Indiana’s agriculture industry exponentially."
Editor’s note: Gov. Mike Pence stated in a speech early in his term that there should be an agriculture program in every school in Indiana. Currently, roughly half of the schools offer ag science classes. At last count, some 15 schools still had not filled openings for ag teachers for the upcoming school year due to a continuing teacher shortage.