Monday, February 28, 2022


This essay is a merit winner in the 2022 Ag Day Essay Contest.  Visit for more details on National Ag Day.

Makenna Stundebeck

Salisbury, Missouri

Howard Buffett said, “The challenge is clear; we have to conserve and improve the soil we have, and we need to turn dirt into soil wherever people need to grow food” (Buffett). The question is, is there a compromise between increasing the bottom line and being good stewards of the land? Farmers have the daunting task of keeping their farms afloat, while maintaining a stable, and healthy environment for future generations. As farmers and innovative thinkers in the agriculture industry, it is our responsibility to be constantly researching methods to preserve the Earth while providing for the ever-growing population. Whether it is through cover crops, the usage of buffer zones, or by reducing chemical application, farmers must always take into account tactics to preserve the Earth’s soil, water, and air.

No one is closer to the land than a farmer. The livelihoods of farmers depend on their ability to use the land, therefore, it is in the farmer’s best interest to help protect the land because they rely on it. One way that farmers protect the Earth’s soil is through cover crops. Cover crops are grown to protect and enrich the soil and make sure that the soil is healthy by putting nutrients back into it. The use of cover crops has also been shown to increase crop yields, therefore, farmers can grow more food and feed more people.

Farmers are also proactive gatekeepers of the earth’s water resources, through the usage of buffer zones. With buffer zones, farmers plant strips of vegetation between fields and bodies of water, such as streams and lakes. These plants keep soil in place, and soil out of the water source. Buffer zones also act as a filter for water that flows from the field to the waterway. This is important because clean water is a necessity for farmers, their land and families.

Lastly, farmers are positive stewards of the air. Farmers breathe the same air that is around their crops, so they are mindful about chemicals they spray. Many farmers conduct soil tests on their land so that they are only applying the amount of nutrients needed for what they are planning to grow. This requires farmers to constantly regulate chemical usage, which allows them to be aware of the chemicals they spray on crops to ensure toxins are not released into the air.

Agriculture is an industry that is at the root of the American Enterprise system. It is an industry that continues to evolve and grow, because feeding the world is not a job that will become obsolete. Farmers are stewards of the soil, water, and air, and continuously work to preserve the land for future generations.


Thursday, February 24, 2022

 We Understand Growing

Contributed by Growmark

In agriculture, we understand growing. We put seed in the ground each spring, full of the promise of a bountiful harvest. We nurture plants with fertilizer and water, and do our best to protect them from pests. We pray for enough (but not too much) rain and enough (but not too much) warmth. In the fall, we enjoy the reward for our labors and prepare to start all over again the next year. 
While the corn and soybeans grown on my family farm only grow for a single season, we make careful efforts to sustain and preserve both the land and our core values on an ongoing basis. A Greek proverb states “A society grows great when men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in.” We are grateful to past generations for their foresight and vision to create agriculture as we know it today and realize the responsibility we have to future generations.

GROWMARK is also committed to sustainability. Through our endure program, we look at a wide range of practices, from actions as simple as recycling office paper all the way up to helping farmers create whole-farm plans based on the 4R’s of nutrient management. Maintaining the viability of agriculture is important, and we don’t take that responsibility lightly.

The GROWMARK Foundation supports a wide range of organizations committed to the future of agriculture. We work closely with 4-H, FFA, Agriculture in the Classroom, and Farm Bureau Young Leaders to educate and encourage youth, and our scholarship program identifies and rewards individuals studying for careers in the industry. Partnerships with industry groups including the Global Farmer Network, the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, and land grant university research efforts help ensure current, factual information about agriculture is shared with people both within and outside of the industry.

“Growing a Climate for Tomorrow” might be the theme of this year’s National Ag Day, but those of us in agriculture know that growing for tomorrow happens each and every day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022


This essay is a merit winner in the 2022 Ag Day Essay Contest.  Visit for more details on National Ag Day.

Rebekah Vague
Ellsworth, Kansas

In the last century, agriculture has become more advanced in the ability to produce food for humanity through improving technology and having a passionate workforce. Agriculture holds the key for advancement in the world climate of today and tomorrow. Enthusiasts will build vital food chains, increase technology, educate consumers, and advance health and nutrition like never before over the next 50 years.

Food value chains help contribute to the economic growth of American agriculture while benefiting consumers. These chains help build alliances between farmers and supply chain partners in order to distribute food and products across all consumer venues and build trust between agriculturists and consumers.

Technology has played an impactful role in modernizing agriculture. Specifically, the GPS advancement has allowed farmers to increase efficiency in planting crops. Drone technology can help farmers take soil tests and spray fertilizer. According to Global Market Insights, the drone market for agriculture will surpass $1 billion by the year 2024. Technology use among agriculturalists will continue to grow.

Agriculturalists have increased global consumer interests by improving food quality. Consumers are looking for natural and safe food options. According to Linkage, “4 out of 10 Americans think it is important to be reassured that their food is produced naturally and 52% have reported their interest in knowing where their food is produced has increased in the last year.”

Health and wellness has driven consumers' food buying habits. According to Food Dive, the coronavirus pandemic has caused people to consume foods that benefit their immunity, metabolism, and mental state. Research from ADMs Outside Voice states that 77% of consumers want to do more to stay healthy. Many manufacturers have stayed in tune with what consumers want. The pandemic shifted consumers' food habits to buying and consuming plant based products. ADM stated that 18% of United States consumers purchased their first plant based protein products during this time, and research found that 92% of these consumers will continue to purchase these products.

At just around 2 million farms in the United States, farmers are the proudest stewards of the Earths natural resources. In the last 100 years, while working with conservationists, farmers have learned how to conserve topsoil by using cover crops and how to protect natural water resources through following proper spraying and pesticide practices.

With changing agricultural techniques, farmers are better able to feed the world's growing population. The average United States farmer annually feeds 166 people, both foregin and domestic. By 2050, the world's population is expected to increase to 2.2 billion people. This indicates that farmers must increase production by 70%. American farmers may have a big challenge ahead of them however, American agriculture can grow a climate for tomorrow.

Friday, February 18, 2022


2022 National Ag Day Essay Contest Winners Announced

The Agriculture Council of America (ACA) has announced the 2022 National Ag Day video and written essay winners.  The winners were chosen based on the theme:  American Agriculture: Growing a Climate for Tomorrow.  Entrants chose to either write an essay or create a video.  

 “CHS has long supported rural youth education and leadership programs and we are proud to give this year’s essay contest winners a platform that lets them share their ideas with a broader audience,” says Annette Degnan, CHS Inc., director, Marketing Communications, and Agriculture Council of America board member.

The national written essay winner, Haden Coleman of Trinity, Texas, receives a $1,000 prize and will read his winning essay at the virtual Ag Day event on March 22, 2022. The contest also named two merit winners who receive $100 and blog posts featuring their essays. They are Rebekah Vague of Ellsworth, Kansas, and Makenna Stundebeck of Salisbury, Missouri.  This year’s video essay winner, Kenna Mullins of Oxford, Pennsylvania, wins a $1,000 prize.  The winning entries can be viewed online at 

The Ag Day Essay Contest is sponsored by CHS Inc., National Association of Farm Broadcasting and Farm Progress.

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 and acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry.

Learn more and register for events at