Liz Renner recently submitted an essay for the Ag Day Essay Competition. This year’s theme is “American Agriculture, Your Food. Your Farmer.” The contest is sponsored by Cennex Harvest States and the Agriculture Council of America.
The national written essay winner receives a $1,000 prize and round-trip ticket to Washington, D.C., for recognition during the Celebration of Ag Dinner held March 15 at Whitten Patio at the USDA. During dinner, the winner will have the opportunity to read the winning essay as well as join with industry representatives, members of Congress, federal agency representatives, media and other friends in a festive ag celebration. The video essay winner wins a $1,000 prize, and the winning video will play during the Celebration of Ag Dinner.
Here is the essay that Liz wrote and submitted for the contest:
“Farmers. They are our neighbors and our friends. They are the honest, hard- working, and reliable men and women who are devoted to producing our nation’s food and fiber. In a 1785 letter, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bands” (“Founding Fathers” par. 3) Two centuries later, today’s American farmers are growing the future of our country. From cultivating the soil to cultivating the hearts of the next generation–my generation–of agriculturalists, farmers make up the vital backbone of the country’s economy and society.
I am proud to say that when I walk into a grocery store, I can buy fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products, and eggs grown and raised by producers right here in South Dakota instead of commodities shipped in from other states or foreign countries. I want to know where the food that I consume is coming from. Therefore, I make the choice to shop at a new local food co-op that sells fruits, vegetables and meat grown and raised by thirty area farmers. It gives me peace of mind to know that my food is safe and of high-quality because the folks that grew it take pride in the food that they produce. I am glad to support these farmers because they contribute to a nutritious, affordable, and stable food supply.
As the world’s population grows at an incredible rate, farmers and scientists here in the United States are working together to find ways to produce higher yields using less water and fewer chemicals. Besides trying to combat world hunger, farmers are also working to care for the Earth. In my home state, for example, farmers are taking the initiative to protect the environment by planting cover crops and practicing crop rotation because they know the importance of taking care of the land. As consumers, we need to make environmentally- conscious decisions to support farmers who are implementing eco-friendly practices in theirfields and on their farms. In conclusion, farmers work tirelessly to make our trip to the grocery store more economically reasonable.”