Cori Lee wins FFA GROWMARK essay contest

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Cori Lee, of Marysville, Ohio, has been named the Ohio state winner of the 2019 GROWMARK essay contest for FFA members.

The theme of the contest was “What does the future of agriculture look like to you, and what skills will you need to play a part in it?”

In her contest entry, Lee said: “This technology is the future of agriculture, but the next generation will need the skills to be able to connect with the public that has been disconnected from their farming roots. Advocating for agriculture is going to be crucial for the support of consumers.”

Lee is a student at Marysville High School and a member of the Marysville FFA chapter.

Lee will receive a $500 award from GROWMARK at the Ohio FFA State Convention in Columbus in May.

The Marysville 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: Nora Beresik, Fort Loramie-UVCC FFA; Jerilyn Garrett, Peebles FFA; Erin Green, Carrollton FFA; and Rose Zeedyk, Fairview FFA.

Lee’s Essay

Cori Lee

Trying to manage an irrepressible Mother Nature has been an age-old battle going on since what seems like the beginning of time. But just as our phones have become “smart,” so has the technology used for agriculture, making it easier to be more efficient with current resources. 

Robots, drones, computers, and GIS have had their purposes transformed through reimagining and enhancement for agricultural use. 

However, living in a health-conscious society could impede the progress toward increasing production by 70 percent. 

The immense challenge of feeding over 9 billion people by 2050 is one that will have to be faced with the breakthrough of new technology and the cooperation of the public. 

Pieces of valuable technology, robots and drones, have already been implemented with successful results in reducing the amount of human labor. Just recently, a driverless tractor has been released by Case IH that will be able to run a planter on its own. 

It has a sensor system that recognizes obstacles and can slow down or stop, avoiding damage. 

Other companies have developed technology that allows the farmer to oversee the tractor and take over the operation from a video monitor, even if they are miles away. 

From the sky, drones are able to get a bird’s eye view. Today, these unmanned aerial vehicles have been used for crop scouting, monitoring crop health, yield, plant stress, drought and other tasks. 

This robotics system and drones will allow farmers to save time by letting them spend less time in the field and more time managing other aspects. 

The amount of resources needed has also been reduced with the help of GIS. Geographic information systems transformed farming when they first came out by allowing farmers to track where they have already been. 

Now, new features are being added. High-density soil sampling has made it easy to find the mineral content and porosity so it is possible to predict fertility across a field. Tracking water movement has been achieved using contour mapping. Other detectors on application equipment can measure moisture levels and nutrient content before and after fertilizer has been applied, increasing efficiency. 

Unlike other up and coming technologies, it focuses on using less to make more: fewer pesticides, fewer herbicides, less fuel and less ground. 

This technology is the future of agriculture, but the next generation will need the skills to be able to connect with the public that has been disconnected from their farming roots. 

Advocating for agriculture is going to be crucial for the support of consumers. Today’s future agriculturists need to take on roles of educators for the public for where their food comes from and how it is grown. 

Transparency is going to be a key element as consumers need to gain confidence that their food is safe as well as sustainable. Technology has revolutionized agriculture, but the bridge between consumers and farmers will need to undergo the same process as we feed 9 billion.

— Cori Lee, Marysville FFA

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