National Ag Day Essay Winner Announced

Pennsylvania eight-grader's essay selected as winner of the 2008 National Ag Day Essay Contest.

The Agriculture Council of America has announced the national 2008 Ag Day Essay Contest winner, Katlin Wiest.

ACA called upon seventh- to 12th-grade students nationwide to submit original essays of 450 words about the importance of agriculture in the United States. Under the theme "Agriculture - Bigger Than You Think," students were encouraged to focus their essays on the broader scope of agriculture, showcasing the diversity of today's American farms. Though row crops and livestock are still very much a part of the foundation of the industry, agriculture today has multiple touch points in our daily lives and many career opportunities.

Wiest, an eighth-grader at Upper Dauphin Middle School, Lykens, Pa., was named the national winner of the 2008 contest during the Ag Day event held at the USDA Whitten Building Patio. Wiest read her essay to industry representatives, members of Congress, federal agency representatives, media and others at the Celebration of Agriculture dinner in Washington, D.C. The following is an excerpt from her essay:

"Agricultural products are used by each of us every day. When our alarm clocks ring in the morning, they are most likely made of a plastic derived from corn or soybeans. We then go to our closets and pick out our cotton clothing to wear. Next, it's breakfast. We grab the carton of milk and the box of eggs, which come from dairy and poultry farms. Soon, we hurry out the door to a vehicle powered by ethanol. At lunch, we open our lunch bags to pull out a bologna sandwich with cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. At home, we make dinner, honey-glazed ham with beans, and sugar cookies for dessert. Everything we eat is an agricultural product. As the day ends, we crawl under our wool blankets and go to sleep not thinking that the many things we did today involved agriculture."

"This year's topic showcased the diversity of American agriculture. It was great to see the depth of knowledge today's youth have about the agricultural industry," said Gerald Tumbleson, president, Agriculture Council of America. "Katlin's essay highlighted the many areas of agriculture that people encounter on a day-to-day basis."

Ag Day is a nationally coordinated program that envisions consumers, young and old, talking about agriculture. The contest is sponsored by CHS Inc., The Council for Agricultural Science & Technology, High Plains Journal, National Association of Farm Broadcasting, National Agri-Marketing Association, Country Living Association and McCormick Company.

This is the 35th anniversary of National Ag Day. The goal of the ACA is to provide a spotlight on the agriculture, food and fiber industries the first day of spring, not only to help consumers understand how food and fiber products are produced, but to celebrate accomplishments in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.

For more information and to see a list of the 2008 state winners, visit

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