The Agriculture Council of America is calling 7th to 12th grade students to show Americans the importance of agriculture. Entries in the nationwide 2005 Ag Day Essay Contest will focus on the theme of “Keep America Bountiful.”

“Young people from across our nation will ultimately determine the state of American agriculture,” said Mike Ricciuto, DuPont Crop Protection global communications director. “This contest is designed to encourage our youth to think about and express how they will lead the industry as their turn arrives.”

Ag Day is a nationally coordinated program that envisions consumers, young and old, talking about agriculture. Students are asked to submit an original essay of 450 words or less addressing this year's theme, “Keep America Bountiful” by Feb. 11.

“Educated consumers make educated decisions,” said Claudia Garber, Case IH manager of marketing communications. “Through this contest, we are encouraging youth to think about the future of our industry and to begin to develop skills to participate in increasing public awareness and understanding of agriculture.”

The nationwide essay contest winner will receive a $1,000 prize and a roundtrip to Washington, D.C., to be recognized at an Ag Day luncheon on March 17 at the National Press Club. One winner from each state will receive a $100 prize.

The contest is sponsored by DuPont, Case IH, High Plains Journal and National Association of Farm Broadcasters. For more information and the complete rules and guidelines for this year's contest, visit www.hpj.com/agdayessay.

Each year, the Ag Day program gathers members of the agricultural industry to promote American agriculture. The Ag Day program helps educate millions of consumers each year, sharing how agriculture provides almost everything we eat, use and wear on a daily basis.