Three people are finalists in the 2021 #RootedinAg Contest hosted by Syngenta. Through the annual competition, which started eight years ago, Syngenta invites ag community members to write brief essays about the mentors who played pivotal roles in developing their agricultural passion.
Each finalist receives a mini touch-screen tablet, wireless earphones, and is featured in Syngenta Thrive, a news story magazine offered in print and online. Judge scores and online votes determine which of the three is the grand prize winner. The grand prize winner also receives $500, a $1,000 donation to a charity or civic organization of his or her choice. and a professional photo shoot.
The selected finalists offer unique perspectives on their individual ag journeys:
Craig Converse, a third-generation South Dakota soybean farmer, said he learned everything about agriculture from his father. Now he’s passing down those same lessons to his sons. If selected as the grand prizewinner, Converse will choose Arlington FFA organization to receive a $1,000 donation.
An excerpt from his essay reads: “My calling came in 2008 when I was given the opportunity to return home to that family farm where my grandfather and dad worked so hard to make a living. I was able to work together with my dad for the next 11 years, learning everything he had to teach me before he passed away. Now it’s my chance to do the same with my sons.”
Natalie Doelman, a sophomore at Purdue University who farms in Washington state, honors her dairy-farming parents who inspired her to be a better version of herself in all aspects of her life. If selected as the #RootedinAg winner, Doelman’s chosen charity is Raise for Rowyn, which provides financial and emotional support to families struggling with the loss of a child.
An excerpt from her essay reads: “I eventually understood how unbelievably passionate they have to be to dairy farm. They are passionate about our community, our land, our animals, and our future. … My parents inspire me to do better and be better in all aspects of life, agricultural and otherwise because of their diligence, passion, and hope.”
Austin Walter, a third-generation farmer and cattle feeder in Grand Ridge, Illinois, returned home after college to farm alongside his mentors: his father and grandfather. He appreciates the chance to raise his kids on the farm the way that he was raised. If he is the #RootedinAg grand prize winner, he will choose the Grand Ridge Junior High FFA program to receive the #RootedinAg donation.
An excerpt from his essay reads: “I am blessed to be able to return and farm alongside both my father and grandfather, whom I am able to learn a vast wealth of knowledge from that they have gained over their years of experience. It is truly a dream of mine to raise my kids on the farm the way that I was raised.”
“We are moved by the stories shared by members of our agricultural community,” said Pam Caraway, with Syngenta. “The grit, determination, heart and passion that make our industry so incredible is fully on display in the #RootedinAg entries. Thank you to everybody who participated.”
Online voting is now open. Syngenta will announce the grand prizewinner this fall. To read the finalists full stories and vote for your favorite, go to the #RootedinAg Contest page.