Friday, April 4, 2014

Celebration of Ag Dinner a Great Success

The USDA Whitten Building Patio was decked out on March 25, 2014, for the annual Celebration of Agriculture Dinner. Nearly 175 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.

Beloved agricultural broadcaster Orion Samuelson, WGN Radio, This Week In Agribusiness, emceed the event. Deputy U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden expressed her appreciation of American agriculture and remarked upon the installation of Dr. Norman Borlaug’s statue in the National Statuary Hall earlier that day.

Dr. Borlaug developed high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties that greatly increased food security for Mexico, Pakistan and India. He is known as “the father of the Green Revolution,” and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his research and contributions to agriculture.

The 2014 written and video essay contest winners were also both recognized during the dinner. This year’s essay theme was “American Agriculture: 365 Sunrises and 7 Billion Mouths to Feed.” The winner of the written essay contest was Clara Knipp from Tipton, Mo. Brackston McKnight from Jacksonville, Texas, won the video essay contest.

The Ag Day essay contest was sponsored by CHS, Inc., High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal, National Association of Farm Broadcasting, National Agri-Marketing Association, Country Living Association, Farm Progress Companies and McCormick Company.

Lindsay McQueen, Union/Jackson County, Ill. Farm Bureaus, accepted the Charles Eastin Award during the dinner. This prestigious honor recognizes individuals who stand out as advocates for accurate communication between rural and urban audiences.

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

Students Emphasize Importance of Ag in D.C.

Nearly 100 students representing 4-H, AFA, FFA and Student NAMA convened in our nation’s capitol to share the message of American agriculture with legislators.

After a day 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, D.C., and an exclusive screening of the documentary, "FARMLAND—The Education of a Tradition."

Industry Events Hosted to Celebrate National Ag Day

Several agriculturally-focused organizations held events in the nation’s capitol in conjunction with Ag Day 2014. On March 24, 2014, Sara Wyant, President of Agri-Pulse, led a discussion with USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden at the Hart Senate Office Building.

More than 400 people gathered for this annual event that also doubled this year as a celebration of Agri-Pulse’s 10th anniversary.

On March 25, 2014, a dedication ceremony was held to install the Dr. Norman Borlaug statue in the National Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill. The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance also hosted a panel to discuss issues facing “The Next Generation of America’s Farmers and Ranchers.”

Two documentaries that tell the story of American agriculture were also screened during this year’s Ag Day celebration. “The Great American Wheat Harvest” was shown on March 25 and “FARMLAND” debuted on March 26.

Mix & Mingle Luncheon Draws Leaders

After more than 100 student delegates visited Congressional leaders and discussed the importance of American agriculture, they joined their colleagues in the Russell Caucus Room for the Ag Day Mix & Mingle Luncheon.

Orion Samuelson, WGN Radio, emceed the event at which the Outstanding Young Farmer award winners were recognized and U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) spoke to luncheon guests about the remarkable contributions of American agriculture to our nation’s economy and culture.

The Outstanding Young Farmer program was initiated in the 1940's. John Deere sponsored the first Outstanding Young Farmer National Congress in 1977 in Bismarck, N.D.

This year’s Outstanding Young Farmer honorees were: Patrick Zimmerer, Wyo.; Christian and Julie Richard, La.; Ali and Scott Ferry, Mich; Jennifer and Brian Harbage, Ohio.