What do Sierra Wiles from the Riverton Parke FFA chapter in Indiana, Wyatt Neal from the Parma FFA chapter in Idaho and Hannah Stokan from the Seven Lakes FFA chapter in Texas have in common?
They each wrote an essay that won them money toward a trip for their chapters to the 2016 National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis. This four-day convention is the event of the year for FFA members across the country, and provides opportunities for them to celebrate their agricultural achievements and further develop their potential.
As the first-place winner of Culver’s Second Annual FFA Essay Contest, which asked members to write about how they see modern technology impacting the agricultural industry and their agricultural careers, Sierra and her chapter will receive $7,500. Wyatt’s and Hannah’s chapters will each receive $2,500.
Sierra’s essay discussed the ways technology is allowing us to better meet quality and quantity standards:
“Precision ag is one of the immensely valuable advancements that technology has made possible. It allows farmers to treat sections of large fields as individual units, using technologies such as electromagnetic soil mapping, aerial imagery, crop index maps and yield data collections.”
"Precision ag is immensely valuable."
“Through biotechnology, we are growing more disease-resistant crops and raising healthier livestock with lower feed-to-meat ratios. We are thus producing more resources in more economical ways, and creating more dependable sources of food.”
Sierra plans to become a veterinarian. She sees technology having a significant impact on her career because it has increased the range of medical treatments available to veterinarians and helped to develop more efficient ways of diagnosing ailments in animals.
Wyatt shared why it’s important to embrace new technologies as they become available, which is something he learned from his grandparents.
“My great grandpa told me the story of him working the fields with teams of horses, planting the seeds by hand and harvesting with horses as well. My great grandpa farmed and ranched for 60 years, building a herd of cattle to over 450 cow/calf pairs.
When he retired, he was selling state-of-the-art combines, tractors and planters. He was the first farmer in our community to put in wheel lines; neighbors thought he was crazy. He was the first to put in a pivot, and again he was crazy. In those sixty years, technology took agricultural production to extraordinary levels.”
"Technology takes ag production to extraordinary levels."
Wyatt hopes to have a career in animal science and agricultural business management and believes technology is only limited by our imagination.
Hannah’s essay discussed how technology has revolutionized the agricultural industry and agricultural career opportunities.
“Computer programmers are needed to code the unmanned aerial vehicles patrolling the wheat fields, geneticists are vital to creating more nutritious crops and economists can help prevent surpluses and shortages by assisting farmers in producing the right amount of product for the market.”
"Technology helps us work smarter, not harder."
“The key to maximizing our potential will lie in working smarter, instead of just harder. We have an advantage over past generations because of the new technologies like DNA previewing and genetic selection, and these technologies will continue to be complemented by expanding the use of drones in the vast corn fields of Nebraska, and genetic engineering in the stockyards of west Texas.”
Hannah is interested in a career in botany because it will allow her to work on a genetic level to maximize the nutritional value of plants.
We can’t wait to see Sierra’s, Wyatt’s and Hannah’s chapters, as well as more than 60,000 other FFA members, in Indianapolis, October 19–22!
Visit our Thank You Farmers page to learn more about how we’re supporting young folks pursuing careers in agriculture.