WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns encourages FFA students to participate in the annual RMA-FFA writing contest.

The contest, a Risk Management Strategies for Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) Program, gives FFA student members an opportunity to learn about agricultural risks and apply risk management tools.

"This contest encourages FFA students to consider how best to manage risk, just as policy-makers contemplate the same question in preparation for the 2007 farm bill," Johanns said. "It is important for young people to be engaged and aware of tools, such as sound risk management strategies, that will help to ensure their future success."

For their essay, students are encouraged to select a risk management strategy relative to their supervised program, analyze the risk, indicate tools used to minimize risk, and explain their application of these tools in an essay of no fewer than 1,000 words.

Ten national winning essays will be selected on the basis of content, adherence to the assigned topic, grammar, organization, originality and creativity. Each of the 10 winners and their advisors will travel to Washington, D.C., all expenses paid, for a special USDA Risk Management Agency/FFA Day in April/May 2007. At that time, students and advisors will meet with USDA officials and members of Congress and be recognized in a special ceremony.

The contest is open to current FFA students in good standing. A list of top 10 winners will appear in FFA's New Horizon's magazine, "Making a Difference" newsletter and on the organization's Web site.

Entries must be postmarked by Jan. 31, 2007, and should be sent to:

Risk Management Essay Contest, National FFA Organization, P.O. Box 68960, Indianapolis, IN 46268-0960.

For more information, see the contest rules of entry at www.rma.usda.gov.

SOURCE: USDA news release.