TAMPA -- The 15 winners of the "Reach for the Stars" contest that the American Soybean Associaion is running in partnership with John Deere Ag Management Solutions have been announced.

Each contest winner will have the opportunity to use a premium-level precision ag system, each with a suggested retail price of more than $20,000, on his or her farm for the entire 2007 U.S. growing season.

"More than 400 growers registered for the 'Reach for the Stars' contest," said ASA First Vice President John Hoffman, a soybean producer from Waterloo, Iowa. "Through an independent process of finalist selection, ASA was able to identify a wide range of grower experience and geographic diversity to put this equipment to the test. Congratulations to the winners."

The 15 winners are: Nathan Wright, Harrisburg, Ark.; Roger Godwin, Pelham, Ga.; Ted Vinson, Fithian, Ind.; Neal Kuhn, Manilla, Ind.; Luke Smith, Rochester, Ind.; Chris Von Holten, Walnut, Ill.; Scott Chesnut, Boone, Iowa; David Oberbroeckling, Davenport, Iowa; Curtis Clayes, Delmar, Iowa; Dale Seyfred, Galien, Mich.; Ronald Tersteeg, Bird Island, Minn.; Peter Kramer, Gibbon, Minn.; Todd Swanson, Wahoo, Neb.; Colin Dutenhoffer, Aberdeen, S. Dak.; and Alan Meadows, Halls, Tenn.

"Each winner will now be put in contact with his local John Deere dealer for installation and industry-leading support for their new precision ag system," said John Deere AMS Marketing Manager Seth Crawford. "The winners will also gain access to the John Deere AMS Web site, StellarSupport.Deere.com">, as well as the use of the Customer Care Center, which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for around-the-clock technical support."

The contest prize package includes use of a GreenStarTM AutoTracTM Assisted Steering System with an AutoTrac Universal Steering Kit, a StarFireTM iTC receiver, and a John Deere SF2 signal activation; a GreenStarTM 2 System, which includes a GreenStar Display 2600 and preloaded GreenStar Basics software; and GreenStar Apex Farm Management Software. After the program ends, qualified participants will be offered an opportunity to purchase the entire system, or just the components they want to own, at a greatly reduced price.

"ASA and John Deere will stay in contact with each winner during the year to learn about their experience with installation and utilization of their new precision ag system," Hoffman said. "We are eager to learn how precision ag has brought more productivity to their farms, and will share this information in the future on ASA's Web site

Earlier this year, ASA mailed a packet of precision ag information to more than 1,400 growers in soybean production areas across the country. ASA and John Deere AMS personnel will also hold a series of regional grower education meetings this summer and next winter, to help U.S. soybean producers learn more about precision ag systems and how they fit into all types of operations. Dates and cities for the summer meetings will be announced in June.

SOURCE: American Soybean Association news release.