KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- DuPont Crop Protection and the Agriculture Council of America have announced the national 2006 Ag Day Essay Contest winner, Ashley Julka.

Julka, a 10th grader at Laconia High School, Rosendale, Wis., was named the state winner and overall national winner of the "Growing Our Energy: Alternative Fuels From Agriculture" themed contest. The following is an excerpt from her essay:

"...By using gasoline-containing ethanol, we're using homegrown products. Not only does this reduce our dependency on foreign oil, but it also helps the American economy. In Wisconsin alone, ethanol production has gone from zero to 250 million gallons in five years."

Mike Ricciuto, DuPont Crop Protection global communications director, said, "The topic this year was challenging, yet extremely pertinent to the future of our youth and the success of agriculture. It is great to see today's youth have such strong support for the American agriculture industry.

"Ashley's entry demonstrated extensive research and understanding of agricultural topics and issues, showing the depth of interest and awareness that she has."

Julka received a $1,000 prize and a roundtrip ticket to Washington, D.C., to be recognized during the March 16 Ag Day Luncheon held at the National Press Club.

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

This is the 33rd 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.

DuPont is a science company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture, nutrition, electronics, communications, safety and protections, home and construction, transportation and apparel.

SOURCE: Agriculture Council of America news release.