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Culver’s 2019 FFA Essay Winners Meet and Greet at the 92nd National FFA Convention includes, from left, Katelyn Carpenter, Cumberland County FFA; Joe Koss, Culver’s president and CEO; and Madison Dwyer, Wakefield FFA.

Cumberland County High School senior Katelyn Carpenter’s essay on the importance of attracting young people to the agriculture industry made her $2,500 richer.

The money is Carpenter’s winnings for her third-place work in the Culver’s FFA essay contest. It’s part of the franchise’s Thank You Farmers Project, which works to ensure the future of the nation’s food supply by supporting agricultural education programs that encourage smart farming. 

In her essay, Carpenter outlined the knowledge and skillsets that Generation Z possesses that benefit the agricultural industry. 

“Born around the turn of the century, our education has taught us the importance of watching carbon dioxide emissions, methane, and practicing energy saving techniques,” she wrote. “As agriculture uses more and more computer technology, we are better suited to implement the technology in our farms such as drones, satellite guided tractors, and animal GPS tags.”

The average age of the American farmer is 58, Culver’s research shows, and the the number of farmers over the age of 65 outnumbers those under 35 by a margin of six to one.

Culver’s points out that’s why it’s more important than ever to get young people — the ones who will someday have a role in growing the food we eat — interested in agriculture

“We loved reading about how excited and passionate FFA members are about agriculture and having more young people consider careers in the industry,” said Jessie Kreke, Culver’s senior marketing manager. “It’s clear that the future of agriculture is in great hands with these students!”

FFA members were asked to share in their essays why their peers should be excited to be part of the industry.  

The business awarded $15,000 in prize money to winning students. First place of $7,500 was awarded to a FFA member in Raleigh, NC; and a Plant City, FL, member received the $5,000 second place.

To date, the initiative has raised over $2 million in support of the National FFA Organization, local FFA chapters and a variety of local agricultural organizations. 

For 35 years, Culver’s guests have been treated to cooked-to-order food made with farm-fresh ingredients. The expanding franchise system now numbers more than 700 family-owned and operated restaurants in 25 states. The restaurants’ nationally recognized customer service is based on small-town, Midwestern values, genuine friendliness and an unwavering commitment to quality. See for more information.

The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 669,989 student members as part of 8,630 FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

The organization is supported by 459,514 alumni members in 2,236 FFA Alumni chapters throughout the U.S. 

The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. 

The National FFA Organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st United States Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. 

The U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to state and local agricultural education programs. 

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