KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Agriculture Council of America is calling upon seventh- to 12th-grade students to submit an original essay of 450 words about the importance of U.S. agriculture.

This year's theme is "American Agriculture in 2025," and the deadline for entries is Feb. 19. Teachers are asked to encourage participating students to focus their essays on the potential landscape of American agriculture in 2025 based on where we are today and the opportunities that lie ahead.

"Participating sponsors are once again proud to be a part of this important celebration of agriculture," said Julie Rudnick, Case IH marketing communications manager. "Now, more than ever, it's important to recognize the essential role of agriculture in our economy and everyday life so we can help shape our future."

This year's national winner will receive a $1,000 prize and roundtrip ticket to Washington, D.C., to be recognized during the March 15 Ag Day Luncheon held at the National Press Club. At the luncheon, the winning essayist will have the opportunity to join with industry representatives, members of Congress, federal agency representatives, media and other friends in a celebration of agriculture.

Statewide winners of the contest also will be selected. Each will receive a $100 prize.

This is the 34th anniversary of National Ag Day. The goal of the ACA is to provide a spotlight on the agriculture, food and fiber industry the first of each spring (National Ag Day), to help consumers understand not only how food and fiber products are produced, but to celebrate accomplishments in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.

The Ag Day Essay Contest is sponsored by Case IH, The Council for Agricultural Science & Technology, High Plains Journal, National Association of Farm Broadcasters, National Agri-Marketing Association, Country Living Association and McCormick Company.

All entries should be sent to: Ag Day Essay Contest, Agriculture Council of America, 11020 King Street, Suite 205, Overland Park, KS 66210, or submitted by e-mail to essay@agday.org.

Entry applications and official rules for the contest can be found at www.hpj.com/agdayessay.

SOURCE: ACA news release.