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2016 National Ag Day Essay Contest Winners
Video Essay Contest Winner
Ayodeji Ogunlana, South Texas High School for Health Professions, Mission, TX
Written Essay Contest Winner
Emily Dougherty, Whiteland Community High School, Greenwood, IN
Agriculture: Stewards of a Healthy Planet
Stewardship for Generations
Ever since I was young, my parents and grandparents have instilled in me a love of agriculture, an appreciation for the land and respect for the generations of farmers before us. The same soil has continually been plowed and planted by my family for over 160 years. Every time I smell the sweet aroma of fresh tilled soil, I quickly think of the history behind the humble soil. My Great-Great-Great Grandpa cleared the forested land and hand dug a ditch so that he could have fertile farm ground. This land has provided for every generation since 1853. Now, my brothers and I have the honor to become the next generation of our family to farm the land. Generations before us have been phenomenal stewards of the land and now it is our turn to embrace technology to leave the land better than we received it.
Awake before dawn and out past the sunset, farmers strive to be proper stewards of the land and to feed the growing world population. In 2050, there is a projected population of nine billion people on earth. To feed this population, farmers have to continue to enhance sustainable practices to keep our earth healthy. Since 1982, stewardship has reduced wind and water erosion of cropland by 50%. Biotechnology has reduced runoff by 70% and 41% of acres are farmed using conservation tillage. Still further, crop yields have continued to increase through management and technology. By practicing sustainable agriculture, farmers are ensuring that the earth will be healthy and productive to feed the population for generations to come.
I will be the first person in my family to attend college. I am doing so, not only to improve our family farm, but to address issues surrounding the agriculture industry. In a media obsessed society, it is crucial to tell the story of agriculture to the younger generations. For farmers and the agriculture industry to continue to thrive, we are going to need strong advocates for our industry to represent farmers and their stewardship.
Stewardship is improving the land to be passed on to the next generation and instilling the values of stewardship into children at an early age. Stewardship allows farmers to produce enough food for the growing population by preserving our earth. Personally, I can look back through generations and see how our stewardship has improved our production. My Great-Grandfather fed 19 people, my Grandpa fed 26, my Dad is currently feeding 155 people and my brothers and I will be the generation to feed nine billion people. Generations after us will practice stewardship and face their own challenges; but the agriculture industry will succeed because of technology and a bountiful earth.
"Commercial Agriculture." University of Illinois Extension. Web. 10 Jan. 2016. <http://web.extension.illinois.edu/state/agriculture/index.php>
Elanco Animal Health. "Are We Prepared to Feed Beef to 9 Billion?" Are We Prepared to Feed Beef to 9 Billion? 01 Dec. 2015. Web. 12 Jan. 2016. <http://beefmagazine.com/elanco-animal-health/are-we-prepared-feed-beef-9-billion>
Grow Ag Leaders. "Some Food for Thought." America's Farmers. Monsanto, 2016. Web. 07 Jan. 2016.