Essay contest winners attend vice presidential debate at Longwood

FARMVILLE—Virginia Farm Bureau Federation named 17 winners of a student essay contest that focused on the future of agriculture in light of population projections for 2050.

The winners received an opportunity to attend the nation’s only Vice Presidential Debate for the 2016 general election on Oct. 4 at Longwood University. 

The essay contest was the culmination of a Collegiate Farm-to-Table Dinner and Agriculture Education program held Sept. 15 at Longwood. 

Following the event, students were asked to submit an essay based on ideas they gleaned from the panel discussion.   

“The event brought students together with a panel of agricultural leaders to discuss the current state of agriculture as it relates to the future forecast,” explained Dee Cook, member development specialist for Farm Bureau. “The world population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, farmland is lost every day that we cannot recover and the average age of the American farmer is approaching 60. Our goal was to inspire students to think about solutions for providing a healthy, abundant food supply for future generations.” 

More than 100 students were among 250 participants in the event. 
The winning student writers are:

  • Appomattox Christian Academy: Jeremy Justis
  • Appomattox High School: Chris Hawks
  • Bluestone High School: Grace Eckler
  • Brookville High School: Devika Naphade
  • Brunswick Academy: Samantha Woyer
  • Brunswick High School: Tiffany Evans
  • Buckingham County High School: Brandy Snoddy
  • Central High School: Jonathan Clarke
  • Cornerstone Christian Academy: Wade Spiggle
  • Fuqua School: Jeffrey Fariss
  • Halifax High School: Audriel Ballano
  • Meadowbrook High School: Mitch Kirtly
  • Nottoway High School: Clarence W. Hart IV
  • Park View High School: Alexis Smith
  • Powhatan High School: Haley Obolewicz
  • Prince Edward High School: Malik Hurtt
  • Randolph Henry High School: Abby Michaelson

“We are delighted to announce the winners of the essay contest and congratulate them on their innovative ideas about helping to shape the future of agriculture. We hope this experience will be a catalyst for them to return to their communities and become involved in solving food production challenges of the future,” Cook said.

County Farm Bureaus partnered with their local schools by sponsoring the cost of the dinner for students and teachers. Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. sponsored cash awards for each student essay winner. 

Media: Contact Claire Mills, VFBF communications, at 804-290-1138. 

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