Maggie Handfelt of East Dubuque, Illinois, has been named the Illinois state winner of the 2021 GROWMARK essay contest for FFA members. The theme of this year’s contest was “If you could invent a new technology to improve agriculture, what would it be?” Students were encouraged to think creatively, not necessarily realistically, as they described their ideal invention.
In her contest entry, Handfelt said: “The preservation of our natural resources is essential to the sustainability of life to come. The primary concern is conserving forests and prairies that are being turned into agricultural developments. Improper disposal of compostable waste can also create a higher rise in CO2 and methane emissions. All of these problems can be addressed through the use of vertical growing towers with collection basins and other innovations.”
Handfelt is a student at Galena High School and a member of the Galena FFA chapter. Her FFA advisor is Sarah Lee.
As the contest winner, Handfelt will receive a $500 award from GROWMARK. The Galena FFA chapter will also receive a $300 award in honor of her accomplishment.
Four state runners-up will each receive a $125 award. The runners-up and their FFA chapters are, in alphabetical order: Megan Baker, Neoga FFA Chapter, Trilla, Illinois; Drew Mickey, Taylorville FFA Chapter, Taylorville, Illinois; Caleb Trieb, Marissa FFA Chapter, Marissa, Illinois; and Dylan Zwilling, Fisher FFA Chapter, Fisher, Illinois.
This is the 28th year for the program, sponsored by the GROWMARK System and FS member cooperatives, in conjunction with state FFA leaders, to help young people develop their writing skills, learn about current issues in agriculture, and understand the unique role of cooperatives.