GROWMARK 2006 Essay Contest profiles renewable energy

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.—What are home-grown fuels? How can they reduce our dependence on foreign oil and increase the value of grain for the American farmer? The theme for the 2006 GROWMARK Essay Contest is “The Benefits of Home-Grown Fuels.” The contest is for all in-school FFA members in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.

This is the 13th year for the program, initiated by GROWMARK in conjunction with state FFA leaders, to help young people improve their writing skills and learn about current issues of agriculture. This year, students will offer educated opinions regarding the importance of renewable fuels such as ethanol-blended fuels, biodiesel and E-diesel.

Essays should be approximately 500 words, typed, and double-spaced. The deadline for Illinois and Wisconsin FFA students is for entries to be postmarked by March 11. Additional program details have been sent to agriculture teachers and are online at (click on “About US/Youth and Young Farmers”).

“This contest is a great opportunity for students to improve their communication and research techniques, and receive recognition in return,” said Jane Castellano, GROWMARK communications specialist. “Agriculture is changing so quickly that 10 years from now, the industry may look vastly different. Through the essay contest, students have the opportunity to look into the future and imagine what the possibilities might be.”

The state winner earns a $300 scholarship, and the FFA Chapter of the winner nets a $300 award. Four runners-up win $100 scholarships, and 25 finalists receive recognition certificates.

The program has grown each year, and many agriculture teachers use it as part of the curriculum. Past topics have included the seed industry, biotechnology, and the future of farming.

GROWMARK is a federated regional cooperative that provides agriculture-related products and services primarily in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada. FS-brand farm supplies and related services are marketed to farmers in these areas by nearly 100 GROWMARK member cooperatives. Visit the GROWMARK Web site at for more information.

From the Jan. 4-10, 2006, issue

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