The theme of this year’s Growmark essay contest for FFA was “What value do cooperatives provide to today’s farmers?”
The theme of this year’s Growmark essay contest for FFA was “What value do cooperatives provide to today’s farmers?”

Jill Sackville of Aledo, Ill., has been named the Illinois state winner of the 2017 Growmark essay contest for FFA members. The theme of this year’s contest was “What value do cooperatives provide to today’s farmers?”

In her contest entry, Sackville said: “Today’s cooperatives still play a pivotal role in farming, allowing members to obtain high quality seeds, fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, and many more essential agricultural needs. They set the pace for quality, price, and services and are a strong competitive influence in and amongst local farmers. They make the services of specialists available to farmers who otherwise would be unable to afford the extra help. Individualized products can be tailored to each of a farmer’s fields based on all manner of criteria.”

Sackville is a student at Mercer County High School and a member of the Mercer County FFA chapter. Her FFA advisor is Aaron Heartt.

As the contest winner, Sackville will receive a $500 award from Growmark at the Illinois FFA State Convention in Springfield, held in June. The Mercer County FFA chapter will also receive a $300 award in honor of her accomplishment to help future students.

Four state runners-up will each receive a $125 award. The runners-up and their FFA chapters are, in alphabetical order: Mikayla Busby, Monticello FFA, Monticello, Illinois; Koby Gooden, West Prairie FFA, Colchester, Illinois; Mallory Unverfehrt, Okawville FFA, Okawville, Illinois; and Garrett Williams, Flora FFA, Noble, Illinois.

This is the 24th 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 in agriculture, and understand the unique role of cooperatives.