Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Ag Day Poster Art Contest Deadline Oct. 30

The deadline for the National Ag Day Poster Art Contest is October 30.

The Ag Day Poster Art Contest is designed to showcase the talents of young artist who share a passion for modern agriculture.  A winning original piece of art will be chosen as the Official National Ag Day poster.  The contest is open to all amateur artists enrolled in high school or college.

Judging will be conducted under the direction of the Agriculture Council of America Board of Directors. The contest theme is Agriculture: Stewards of a Healthy Planet.

The winning entry will be published as the official National Ag Day Poster. The winning artist will receive $1,000 scholarship sponsored by Meredith Agrimedia. The Artwork and profile of the artist will be prominently featured in Successful Farming magazine and Ag Day correspondence. Media releases will also be sent to all Ag Day sponsors and supporters. Prints will be on display during the Ag Day events in Washington, DC.

For more information on the contest please visit www.agday.org.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

2016 National Ag Day Date & Theme Announced

The Agriculture Council of America (ACA) will host National Agriculture Day on March 15, 2016. This will mark the 43rd anniversary of National Ag Day which is celebrated in classrooms and communities across the country. The theme for National Ag Day 2016 is "Agriculture: Stewards of a Healthy Planet."

On March 15, 2016. The ACA will host major events in the nation’s capital including the Mix-and-Mingle Luncheon and the National Celebration of Agriculture Dinner. Additionally, the ACA will bring approximately 100 college students to Washington to deliver the message of Ag Day to the Hill.

These events honor National Agriculture Day and mark a nationwide effort to tell the true story of American agriculture and remind citizens that agriculture is a part of all of us. A number of producers, agricultural associations, corporations, students and government organizations involved in agriculture are expected to participate.

National Ag Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America. ACA is a nonprofit organization composed of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community, dedicating its efforts to increasing the public's awareness of agriculture's role in modern society.

The National Ag Day program encourages every American to:
  • Understand how food and fiber products are produced.
  • Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.
  • Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
  • Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry.
In addition to the events in Washington, DC on March 15, the ACA will once again feature the Ag Day Essay Contest as well as the Ag Day Poster Art Contest.

Keep checking www.agday.org for more information on National Ag Day in 2016.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Events Hosted to Celebrate National Ag Day

Several agriculturally-focused organizations held events in the nation’s capitol in conjunction with Ag Day 2015. On March 17, 2015, Sara Wyant, President of Agri-Pulse, led a discussion on Farm to Fork Politics: Unleashing Innovation in Agriculture. Panelists included:
  • The Honorable Rodney Davis, R-IL, Chair of the House Committee on Agriculture's Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research Subcommittee
  • Bill Horan, Farmer and Chairman
  • Paul Sauder, CEO, Sauder's Eggs
  • David Fischhoff, Chief Scientist, Climate Corporation
  • Ronnie Green, Vice President, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska
Following the panel discussion, guests at the event were treated to a special video tribute for Ambassador and former Agriculture Secretary Clayton Yeutter. The honoree received a standing ovation. Yeutter, a renowned trade experts and University of Nebraska alumnus, has made a $2.5 million leadership gift commitment to establish an international trade and finance institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

On Ag Day, the National Wheat Foundation hosted a Bagel Breakfast & Briefing on Innovation and the future of agriculture. Industry experts discussed important issues, including: biotechnology, sustainability, big data, research and advancements in modern agriculture.

In addition, a selection of photographs featuring women working in their various roles in agriculture, taken by Marji Guyler-Alaniz, President and Founder of FarmHer, was featured at the USDA. Marji Guyler-Alaniz is a native of Urbandale, Iowa, and has spent nearly two years documenting the important role that women play in agriculture throughout the U.S. for her long-term FarmHer project.

USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden hosted a Google Hangout with Dr. Linda Young, Chief Mathematical Statistician and Director of Research and Development of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, and Marji Guyler-Alaniz for a celebration of women farmers and ranchers.

The Next Generation of Leaders

Nearly 100 students representing 4-H, AFA, FFA and Student NAMA convened in Washington, DC to share the message of American Agriculture with legislators.

After a day and a half of message training, students took advantage of opportunities to meet face to face with Congressional leaders from their home states and share their views and aspirations. The student delegates also enjoyed a tour of Washington, DC.

The student activities are sponsored by Farm Credit and CHS, Inc.

2015 Mix & Mingle Luncheon

Speaking at the National Ag Day Mix and Mingle Luncheon was Congressman Mike Conaway from Texas. Congressman Conaway is Chairman of the House Ag Committee. He is currently serving his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives and represents 29 counties in Texas' 11th congressional district, including the cities of Midland, Odessa and San Angelo. In addition to his responsibilities on the House Ag Committee, he serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He is a deputy Republican whip, a position he has held since the 112th Congress.

Orion Samuelson, WGN Radio and This Week in Agribusiness, emceed the luncheon in the Cannon Caucus Room at which the Outstanding Young Farmer award winners were recognized. The Outstanding Young Farmer program began in the 1940s. The first Outstanding Young Farmer National Congress was held under the sponsorship of John Deere in1977 in Bismarck, ND.

Outstanding Young Farmers in attendance at Ag Day activities were: President of Outstanding Young Farmers, Jeff Thomsen and his wife, Elaine; Brian and Jennifer Harbage; Scott and Alissa Ferry; Christian and Julie Richard; and Patrick Zimmerer.

Leaders Celebrate National Ag Day with Dinner at the USDA

The USDA Whitten Building Patio was decked out on March 18, 2015, for the annual Celebration of Agriculture Dinner. Over 150 people were seated for a delicious dinner featuring pork provided by the National Pork Producers Council and prepared by the esteemed Mark Salter of Robert Morris Inn.

The event kicked off with Sue McCrum, American Agri-Women, who presented Orion Samuelson, WGN Radio and This Week in Agribusiness, with the Veritas Award. The Award is presented by American Agri-Women to the person or persons who have given public witness to "the pursuit of truth" in accordance with the principles enunciated in the AAW Statement of Philosophy.

Following the award presentation, Samuelson introduced the Outstanding Young Farmers in attendance: Jeff and Elaine Thomsen; Brian and Jennifer Harbage; Scott and Alissa Ferry; Christian and Julie Richard; and Patrick Zimmerer.

Special guest for the evening was Michael Scuse, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services. Prior to this position, Scuse served as Deputy Under Secret. Prior to this position, Scuse served as Deputy Under Secretary for the FFAS mission area from 2009 to 2011 with primary responsibility over our domestic programs.

Winners of this year's video and essay contest were honored. Each winner receives $1,000. The theme of the contest which was open to young adults, 9th through 12th grade, was “Agriculture. Sustaining Future Generations.” The contest is sponsored by: CHS with support from the National Association of Farm Broadcasting, the National Agri-Marketing Association and Penton Farm Progress. The winning video essay was produced by Harshin Sanjanwala from Madison, Mississippi and can be viewed on the Ag Day web site. Annette Degnan, CHS, Inc., presented  the written essay contest winner, Theresa Seibel from Roanoke, Virginia, with her check and Seibel read her essay at the dinner.

The dinner also featured the presentation of the Charles Eastin Distinguished Service Award, which honors an outstanding individual who stands out as an advocate for accurate communications between rural and urban audiences. This year’s winner was Dennis Pennington with the Michigan State University Extension, Colin Woodall, National Cattlemen's Beef Association presented the award.

This festive evening was a fitting and exciting tribute to the importance of American Agriculture and its vibrant future.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Most of Us Have a #HungerStory

by Tricia Beal, CEO, Farm Journal Foundation

Agriculture has a different face and different meaning to different people. But an important lesson that I have learned over the years is that almost everyone has a personal story related to hunger. I have seen this clearly through the best part of my job: working with bright, talented, farmers, ranchers, and university students across the United States. Agriculture, nutrition, and hunger alleviation ultimately take center stage in our conversations, and this quickly turns to our own personal hunger stories, or those of people we know. Through all these experiences, an important lesson I have learned is to never make assumptions because I have met people who I never imagined could have directly experienced hunger themselves.

My personal #HungerStory is taking place today in urban St. Louis where I live with my family. Like many cities in the U.S., St. Louis has a significant population of homeless veterans and heartbreakingly, hunger is a central challenge for this population. Seeds of hope are blooming here with many excellent organizations, such as the St. Patrick Center, stepping up to create holistic programs that empower people to build more secure lives through vocational programs, social services and housing. These models of change should be shouted from the rooftops because they are making real and meaningful impact.

The Farm Journal Foundation created the infographic below to show the different faces of hunger and the impact of poor nutrition. When you look across the diversity of hunger, it is clear that it manifests differently in people’s lives, with a range of devastating results. Though the underlying causes vary, the outcome is still the same—diminished lives and communities.

Over the next decade, we are going to see more urbanized populations, a growing middle class, and increased diversification of diets. As leaders in agriculture, it is our role to make sure that the agricultural value chain adapts to meet the world’s evolving nutritional needs.

This year will be an important crossroad for hunger and agricultural development policy, including Congressional consideration of the Global Food Security Act and Child Nutrition Reauthorization. I am proud that Farm Journal Foundation will be bringing both farmers and future leaders to Washington, D.C. on Ag Day to share the impact of hunger and tell agriculture’s story.

Please take the opportunity that National Ag Day provides each of us to speak out about agriculture’s unique responsibility of nourishing our dynamic, growing world. We invite you to join us in sharing your personal experience using #HungerStory.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Agriculture: The Next Generation

by Tracy Zeorian, U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc.

Just think, Jen, if it hadn’t been for harvest, you would be just like the other kids in your class”. I said this after Jenna (#2 of four daughters) and I had been having a conversation about kids involved in a satellite Ag class. Our rural school has three kids involved in this class this year. Three out of 200.

You could be like the majority of the kids who think their food comes from the grocery store”. She shook her head in agreement. To make this an even more interesting thought, we live in a rural community surrounded by corn, soybeans and farmyards. If it’s hard for kids growing up surrounded by the industry, what must it be like for those who don’t even know what a kernel of corn looks like? I hate to admit it, but if our kids hadn’t been involved with our custom harvesting industry, they would be in the same situation as their peers. We don’t farm and haven’t had farming in our immediate family for several generations.

Jenna’s generation of students are now teaching your children. Most of them knew nothing about agriculture when they graduated. Saying we need to educate children begins with educating our teachers. A teacher is no different than anyone else. It’s easier to educate others if you have the experience and the background. What about time? Do our teachers have the time needed to add Ag curriculum to their already full day? Are they too busy teaching students what is necessary to pass state standard tests? Do they have the necessary and up-to-date curriculum IF they have the time? Is there funding within the districts to purchase the curriculum?

It’s so easy to say we need to educate our next generation.

Do I believe it’s necessary? Absolutely! The same generation of young adults who are our educators are also our leaders. The further removed from the farm, the more difficult it will be for them to understand the importance of agriculture. Agriculture is what feeds us, what clothes us and what keeps America, America. My concern is this – what happens when the farms of today are no longer? Are we ready to pay the higher cost of imported foods which we will have no idea of how they were planted, grown or harvested?

Agriculture education needs to come from the people who love it, who have a passion for what they do and can share their story. Please…tell YOUR story! Tell it to anyone and everyone who will listen. Make a difference and don’t assume someone else will do it.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Planting the Crop, Crossing the Finish Line

By Holly Spangler, Penton Agriculture

In the USFRA-produced documentary, Farmland, there's a scene where the Nebraska corn and soybean farm family plots out their day of planting. They're running behind, racing against rain and planning to run two planters all night, or at least until the rain starts. With his dad lost to cancer, young farmer David Loberg runs one planter, while his mother runs the other. The movie never reveals exactly whether they were able to finish that night, but the swell of the music sure makes you feel like it's possible.

I've tried to figure out what it is that gets me about that scene. I've seen the movie twice and while I cry as this young man tells of losing his dad (tears in the shop? Of course I will cry along), there's something completely compelling about this springtime race against time.

It's a scenario that every last farmer on every last continent knows all too well: the crop must be planted, before the rain comes. It's simple agronomics. Except that it's not so simple when it's your acres and your investment. Your operating loan. Your crop.

And I've wondered: Is this what makes farmers so passionate about what they do? Is it the risk that drives them forward every morning? Or the passion itself?

Either way, it makes for a special profession. A special industry, full of people eager to get up every day, take the risk, and push through to the finish.

Like the Loberg family in Farmland, it's the scene we'll watch play out in townships all across the nation this spring: planting. Racing a marathon rather than a sprint, and pushing onward to the finish line.

Perseverance and hard work. It's the exact things that make American agriculture worth celebrating.

Holly Spangler is the Special Projects Editor at Penton Agriculture. She blogs about issues relating to young farmers, consumers and more at her blog, My Generation.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Reflections From the New Guy

By Adam Holton, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, CHS Inc.

How would I sum up my first 12 months in agriculture? Technology. Opportunity. Purpose-driven.

While many in agriculture chose their career paths early while growing up on farms or in rural communities, I come from a second, expanding category, those who come from other business sectors. It’s been a year of a considerable learning that has left me feeling both excited and humbled to be part of agriculture and, in the case of CHS, the cooperative system.

So here’s what this newbie has learned about agriculture in his freshman year:

Technology – I joined CHS from a technology-driven medical diagnostics business and wrongly assumed that agriculture wouldn’t stack up where tech is concerned. Instead I’ve been amazed by the precision agriculture in the field, as well as what goes on behind the scenes. It’s inspiring to see what technology has done to help farmers manage against the whims of weather and other unpredictability. At the same time, this underscores why CHS is actively supporting the critical STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs that will drive the future technological advances so critical to developing next-generation agriculture employees.

Purpose-driven – I’m proud of my time in the U.S. Marines Corps, where a “what can I do to contribute?” culture always outranked “what can you do for me?” Agriculture and, especially CHS as a cooperative, have the same purpose-driven focus. Every day it’s always about how each of us can support one other and help our farmer-owners grow. That strong work ethic, collaborative spirit and entrepreneurial approach are at our core, whether we’re on the frontlines as farmers, working directly with producers or one of countless employees supporting them behind the scenes.

Opportunity – And the future? A growing and hungry world to feed, advancing technology and a workforce where many are nearing retirement add up to long-term opportunity.

Take it from the new guy. Whether you’re already committed to agriculture or considering the possibilities, you’re in for an exciting time. Most important, you have an opportunity to connect to something meaningful -- feeding a hungry world.

Friday, February 13, 2015

ACA Announces 2015 National Ag Day Essay Contest Winners

The Agriculture Council of America has announced the winners of the 2015 National Ag Day video and written essay contest winners. The winners were chosen based on the 2015 theme, Agriculture: Sustaining Future Generations.

The theme presented an opportunity for students to address how the agriculture industry is rising to the challenges of feeding a growing population. Entrants chose to either write an essay and/or create a video focusing on how today’s growers are overcoming challenges to provide a safe, stable food supply and sustain the significant role agriculture plays in everyday life.

“CHS enthusiastically supports rural youth and is proud to showcase their thoughts and creativity,” says Annette Degnan, marketing communications director, CHS Inc., one of this year’s essay contest sponsors. “The essay and video contests provide the perfect platform for their visions and dreams to be shared with a broader audience.”

The national written essay winner, Theresa Seibel from Roanoke, Virginia receives a $1,000 prize and round-trip ticket to Washington, D.C., for recognition during the Celebration of Ag Dinner held March 18 at Whitten Patio at the USDA. During dinner, she 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. Video essay winner, Harshin Sanjanwala from Madison, Mississippi wins a $1,000 prize, and the winning video will be posted to the Ag Day web site.   This is the 42nd anniversary of National Ag Day. The goal of the ACA is to provide a spotlight on agriculture and the food and fiber industry. The ACA not only helps consumers understand how food and fiber products are produced, but also brings people together to celebrate accomplishments in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.

The Ag Day Essay Contest is sponsored by CHS Inc., High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal, National Association of Farm Broadcasting and Penton Farm Progress Companies.

National Ag Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America and celebrated in classrooms and communities across the country. ACA is a nonprofit organization composed of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community, dedicating its efforts to increasing the public's awareness of agriculture's role in modern society.

Founded in 1973, National Ag Day encourages every American to:
  • Understand how food and fiber products are produced.
  • Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.
  • Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
  • Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry.
Learn more and register for events at www.agday.org.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

2015 National Ag Day Schedule for Washington, DC Events

Tuesday, March 17

Agri-Pulse’s Ag Day kickoff event in 902 Hart Senate Office Building

3:30 – 5:00 Panel Discussion

Farm to Fork Politics: Unleashing Innovation in Agriculture
Is your next vaccine going to come from inside a vegetable? Can you find your favorite buffalo chicken flavors in hard-boiled eggs? Farmers and agribusinesses across the U.S. are using innovative techniques to produce food, fiber, fuel and even new pharmaceuticals. Hear from leading experts about the opportunities ahead and the challenges they face in trying to innovate, while addressing ever-changing federal standards. Rep. Rodney Davis, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture’s Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research Subcommittee will also participate in this panel discussion, with Agri-Pulse Editor Sara Wyant serving as moderator.

5:00-7:00 Agri-Pulse Customer Appreciation Reception

Keep the conversation going: Join us for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres after the panel discussion.
Reception with Food and Drink Immediately Following
Sponsored by Agri-Pulse
Free of Charge
To register for these events visit https://nama.formstack.com/forms/agdaylunch

Wednesday, March 18              

11:30 – 1:00 p.m.

Mix & Mingle Luncheon
Venue: Cannon Caucus Room
Program: 11:30 - 1:00 p.m.
Emcee: Orion Samuelson
Speakers: Outstanding Young Farmer
Free of charge.
To register for the Ag Day Mix and Mingle Luncheon visit https://nama.formstack.com/forms/agdaylunch

5:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Celebration of Agriculture Dinner
Venue: Whitten Patio USDA Building
Emcee: Orion Samuelson
Speaker: Essay Contest Winner
Charles Eastin Award Presentation
Video Essay to be played, Poster art on display
This is a ticketed event. 
$150 per person or $1,500 for a reserved table of 10.
To register for the Ag Day Dinner visit https://NAMA.formstack.com/forms/agdaydinner

Sponsorships still available! Contact Jenny Pickett at jennyp@nama.org or visit the Ag Day web site at www.agday.org.