Two high school students, one from Indiana and the other from Oklahoma, took top honors in this year’s National Ag Day video and written essay contests.
With her video that begins, “Agriculture, the heart of our daily lives,” 15-year-old sophomore Zoey McCormick of Carlisle, IN, explains the importance of agriculture in virtually ever facet of our existence. And putting pen to paper, 16-year-old junior Rio Bonham of Tishomingo, OK, says, “How Will Agriculture Feed the World?: It Starts Today.”
Both young people crafted their presentations around the contest theme, How Will Agriculture Feed the World, and both have been awarded $1,000 for their efforts. One of the contest’s sponsors this year was CHS Inc., National Association of Farm Broadcasting and Farm Progress, and the essays were lauded during National Ag Day, a multi-day event that took place this week in Washington, D.C. The contest is also sponsored by the National Association of Farm Broadcasting and Farm Progress.
A release from the Ag Council of America said, “The theme presented an opportunity for students to address how the agriculture industry is working to provide for a growing population. Entrants chose to either write an essay or create a video focusing on how today’s growers are overcoming challenges to provide a safe, stable food supply for the ever-changing future.”
Annette Degnan, marketing communications director for CHS Inc., said, “CHS enthusiastically supports rural youth and is proud to showcase their ideas and initiative. The essay and video contests provide the perfect platform for their visions and dreams to be shared with a broader audience.”
Rio traveled to Washington, D.C., for recognition at the National Press Club on March 20, and during the event he was given the opportunity to read his essay as well and join with industry representatives and media
Both entries can be viewed online at https://www.agday.org/2018-contest-winners. Please make sure to check this out – these young folks are the hope of our industry!
Founded in 1973, National Ag Day encourages every American to understand how food and fiber products are produced and to appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.
As 2018’s National Ag Day unfolded, the ACA said, “The goal of the ACA is to provide a spotlight on agriculture and the food and fiber industry. The ACA not only helps consumers understand how food and fiber products are produced, but also brings people together to celebrate accomplishments in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.”
The nonprofit organization is comprised “of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community, dedicating its efforts to increasing the public’s awareness of agriculture’s role in modern society.”
Both young essayists see the importance in connecting consumers with the source of their food and material goods. Rio Bonham warns, “… the reality remains that agriculture lies outside many of the young minds that will make up the future of this nation. Even in a small town in Oklahoma, agriculture remains obscure to young adults. In a place where the wealthiest person in the county owns the most farmland, one would assume that agriculture is an integral part of the community. However, there is a substantial disconnect between the current high school generation and the generation that produces the world’s food. This disconnect could prove to place a strain on the world’s food supply in the coming years. With the average age of a farmer rising to 58 years old, according to the most recent Census of Agriculture, it is clear young people do not think of food production as a career choice. This generational gap roots itself in a lack of understanding of agriculture and the vast array of jobs agriculture has to offer.”
He adds, “It is our responsibility as agriculturists to educate future generations about agriculture in a way that will ignite a passion to carry on the legacy that is American agriculture. The minds of next generation must look forward to the agriculture booth at their next career fair. That is the only way agriculture will be able to feed the world and it must start today.”