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Spotlight on Youth

Deadline near for ‘Gen Z Speaks Ag’ Advocacy Contest

COLCHESTER, Vt. — Young advocates are important voices for agriculture, and American Agri-Women (AAW) and Crop Science, a division of Bayer, want to recognize them for their efforts with the “Gen Z Speaks Ag” advocacy contest. Those who are between 15-23 years old can enter the contest and the deadline is Oct. 10.

The contest includes four options: photo, video, special event or pollinator education. Prizes range from $100-$500. The entrants can have an agriculture background or have an interest in related topics, such as food safety, food preparation or sustainability, among others.

"Gen Z Speaks Ag" is part of AAW’s “AgDay365: Ag Day is Every Day Campaign.” AgDay365 celebrates the fact that everyone is part of agriculture, every day and the contest encourages young advocates to make their voices count.

“As we move closer to 2050, feeding a growing planet to ensure an abundant, sustainable food supply will require the next generation of youth ‘AgVocates’ to step up and make their voices heard,” said Jim Blome, president and CEO for North America Crop Science, a division of Bayer.

“Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders in ag, and we need their fresh thinking and passionate efforts to solve the challenge of feeding more than 9 billion people. With this award, we hope to recognize those bright young minds looking to make an impact in the industry.”

Go to for contest details.

Tractor Supply, FFA conduct national shirt fundraiser

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — Tractor Supply Co. is partnering with the National FFA Foundation to promote the future of agriculture by selling 2017 National FFA Convention-themed shirts in stores across the country this fall.

This year, the annual fundraiser features the 2017 convention theme “I Can. We Will.” in support of the advancement of agriculture among American youth. Customers can purchase these limited edition shirts for $12.99 (plus tax) at Tractor Supply stores to benefit the National FFA platform, “Living to Serve,” an initiative that empowers youth to engage in agricultural programs in their communities, as well as the FFA Alumni Assoc.

The shirts will also be available at the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo, held Oct. 25-28 in Indianapolis, to benefit “Give the Gift of Blue,” a National FFA program that awards personalized FFA corduroy jackets – articles of faith, honor and pride – to hard-working FFA youth members.

“The future of agriculture is vital to the lifestyle Tractor Supply serves,” said Christi Korzekwa, senior vice president of marketing at Tractor Supply Co. “This annual fundraiser allows us to partner with FFA in a unique way by investing in the future and reinforcing our commitment to the communities we serve.”

In 2016, Tractor Supply’s annual shirt fundraiser generated more than $167,000 for the National FFA Foundation, which inspires young adults to become active leaders in their communities through participation in agricultural programs.

“Our partnership with Tractor Supply Company allows us to provide more FFA members with the tools and education they need to pursue a future in agriculture,” said Mark Poeschl, CEO of the National FFA Organization and the National FFA Foundation. “This fundraiser exemplifies our commitment to helping them achieve outstanding personal and professional growth goals.”

Growmark announces its 2018 essay contest theme

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The theme for the 2018 Growmark Essay Contest is: “How can cooperatives demonstrate their value to the next generation of agriculturists?” The contest is open to all high school FFA members in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin.

This is the 25th year for the program, sponsored by the Growmark System and FS member cooperatives, in conjunction with state FFA leaders, to help young people develop their writing skills, learn about current issues affecting agriculture and understand the unique role of cooperatives.

Students will share their thoughts on what future agriculturists should expect from their membership in cooperatives and how cooperatives can remain relevant to a new generation. Essays will once again be submitted online. The deadline for all submissions is midnight on Nov. 10.

Additional program details have been sent to agriculture teachers and are also online at

Each state’s winner earns a $500 award and the winner’s FFA chapter receives a $300 award. Four runners-up per state each win $125 awards. The program is offered annually and many agriculture teachers use it as part of their class curriculum. Past topics have included sustainability, careers in agriculture and the cooperative principles.

National Wheat Foundation seeks applications for scholarship

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Wheat Foundation (NWF) officially began accepting applications for the Jerry Minore Scholarship, honoring students pursuing a career in agriculture. The scholarship is available to both high school and college students for the 2018-19 academic year, with an application deadline of Dec. 31.

“The scholarship is meant to aid those students who have shown a passion for agriculture both inside and outside the classroom,” said Phil McClain, chair of the NWF. “These students can then educate the next generation on the importance of wheat and agriculture and the important role both play in society.”

The late Jerry Minore was a BASF senior market manager and a liaison to the wheat industry. Since his death in 2012, BASF has partnered with the NWF to fund scholarships and honor his advocacy efforts for wheat growers.

“We are proud to partner with the National Wheat Foundation to find students who have shown a commitment to our industry and a willingness to honor Jerry’s legacy and enthusiasm for agriculture,” said Luke Lathan, BASF product manager and NWF board member. “We will continue to invest in the best and brightest ag students to help them achieve their career goals. We look forward to seeing their impact.”

For more information on how to enter, visit

Grants available to develop wildlife education in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio educators who have successfully used Project WILD in their classrooms and informal educational programs can now provide students with additional hands-on learning about wildlife and habitat through grants, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Grants totaling $500 each will be awarded on a competitive basis to 40 schools or organizations currently participating in Project WILD, a supplemental environmental education curriculum for preschool through Grade 12. The grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Only one grant per project site is allowed per state fiscal year, which runs July 1-June 30.

Project WILD uses wildlife lessons and wildlife management concepts to teach traditional school subjects, such as math, science and language arts. Now in its 13th year, this grant program provides educators with funding to purchase the materials, equipment and support activities needed to develop wildlife habitat improvement projects or wildlife education programs.

A Wildlife Education project or program allows educators to take lesson plans outdoors, bringing conservation education concepts to life for students. An added benefit can be the improvement of habitat for wildlife, which enhances outdoor learning experiences.

For the first time, schools and other educational organizations can use funds to support wildlife education inside the classroom through the purchase of materials, equipment, field trips and professional development for educators. This broadened scope allows more flexibility for the educator to incorporate information about Ohio’s native wildlife into their lessons and programs.

The grants are awarded to applicants who best meet the Wildlife Education grant criteria. Criteria includes participation in one of Ohio’s Project WILD programs, the dissemination of factual and science-based information on native Ohio wildlife, involvement of the students in the projects as much as possible and correlation of the projects to the educator’s curriculum or program goals. Recipients must also turn in a final report at the end of their project.

Funding for the Wildlife Education grant program comes from the sale of Ohio hunting and fishing licenses. Interested educators should submit an application until June 30, 2018, to: Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife, Outdoor Education Section, 2045 Morse Road, Building G, Columbus, OH 43229.

Complete details of the grant program and an application packet can be found at or to learn more about Project WILD or to find an area workshop, call 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543).