Nov 11, 2010  |  Today's News

The theme for the 2011 GROWMARK Essay Contest is: “The Importance of Agriculture in Everyday Life.” The contest is open to all high school FFA members in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin.


This is the 18th 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 impacting agriculture, and the unique role of cooperatives. This year, students will focus on four questions: What basic needs does modern agriculture provide for us every day? How do scientific farming methods and machinery provide agricultural products for everyone? How do agriculture cooperatives support their local communities? Why is agriculture the world’s largest and most important industry?


Essays should be approximately 500 words, typed and double-spaced. The postmarked entry deadline for Iowa FFA members is February 12. The postmarked entry deadline for Illinois and Wisconsin FFA members is March 12. Additional program details have been sent to agriculture teachers and are online at (click on Our Commitments/Youth & Young Farmers/Essay Contest).


“Writing an essay gives students a chance to discover that agriculture is the world’s largest industry, touching each of our lives by supplying our food, fiber, and fuel,” said Jane Castellano, GROWMARK corporate communications, and cooperative education specialist.


Each state’s winner earns a $500 scholarship and the winner’s FFA chapter receives a $300 award. Four runners-up per state each win $125 scholarships.

The program is offered each year and many agriculture teachers use it as part of their class curriculum. Past topics have included renewable fuels, biotechnology, and the cooperative principles.


GROWMARK is a regional cooperative providing agriculture-related products and services, as well as grain marketing in 23 states and Ontario, Canada.


GROWMARK owns the FS trademark, which is used by affiliated member cooperatives. The FS brand represents knowledgeable, experienced professionals acting with integrity and dedication to serve more than 100,000 customers. More information is available at