WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Agriculture Council of America yesterday announced the national 2007 Ag Day Essay Contest winner, LaTasha Cote.

ACA called upon seventh- to 12th-grade students nationwide to submit original essays of 450 words about the importance of agriculture in the United States. Under the theme "American Agriculture in 2025," students were encouraged 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.

Cote, a 12th-grader at Couch High School in Myrtle, Mo., was named the national winner of the 2007 contest during the Ag Day event held at the National Press Club. Cote read her essay to industry representatives, members of Congress, federal agency representatives, media and others in a celebration of agriculture. The following is an excerpt from her essay:

"The alarm sounds off at about 8:00; a young man reaches over to turn it off. He gets up, jumps in the shower, eats his breakfast, and then heads out the door toward his milk barn. There is no rush to get to the cows because they have already been milked. He begins to check the computer system to see the amount of milk produced from the third milking of the day. Immediately, a very precise chart pops up and gives the percentage of milk given per second, the amount of butterfat, and accurately tells the farmer the exact weight of the milk.

"Wait, where's the reality check? Well, there isn't one. This is only one example of how far the industry, in all farms, has come since the year of two-thousand and seven."
Eldon White, president, Agriculture Council of America, said, "It is great to see today's youth have such strong support for the American agriculture industry. LaTasha's essay showed the depth of interest and awareness she has in U.S. agriculture, now and in the future."

Ag Day is a nationally coordinated program that envisions consumers, young and old, talking about agriculture. The contest is sponsored by Case IH, The Council for Agricultural Science & Technology, High Plains Journal, National Association of Farm Broadcasting, National Agri-Marketing Association, Country Living Association and McCormick Company.

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 industries the first day of 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.

For more information and to see a list of the 2007 state winners, visit www.agday.org.

SOURCE: Agriculture Council of America.