Winning Essays Yield Invitations to D.C. Conference for Two UMES Ag Students

  • Tuesday, April 3, 2007

      PRINCESS ANNE, MD - Essays by two students majoring in agriculture at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore resulted in their being invited to Arlington, VA, by USDA Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns.  

    Meredith M. Esguerra of Bowie and Kristen Walker of Baltimore each wrote an essay entitled, "Why I want a career in agriculture," and were among 11 university students selected to attend the USDA's 2007 Agricultural Outlook Forum on March 1 and 2 with all expenses paid.  Esguerra and Walker, both juniors at the University, participated in a new student diversity program created by the forum. 

    "The Forum has a tradition since 1923 of looking toward agriculture's future; and this year, we've created a new opportunity for students to learn about their own futures in agriculture," said Secretary Johanns. "Attending the Forum gives our young people the perspective to recognize historic change and the wide range of opportunities in today's world of agriculture."

    Esguerra's essay was judged "Best Overall" among those submitted.  In her essay, Esguerra observed, "Most of the greatest thinkers simply did their best at something they loved, for its own sake. They were able to pull free from the comforts of an apathetic society and focus on the problems that were in front of them."  On her return from the conference, Esguerra said, "It was great! At the forefront of the topics that were discussed were biofuels and renewable energy. There were people from all over the world. Panelists also discussed improved standards for trade of agricultural commodities and new technology in today's supermarkets such as interactive shopping carts. It was a wonderful opportunity."

    Other universities represented at the forum were Virginia State, Alcorn State, Michigan State, North Carolina A & T State and Lincoln universities. The students' attendance was sponsored by corporations and USDA agencies including CHS Foundation; Deere & Company; Farm Credit Bank of Texas; AgFirst Farm Credit; Georgia Farm Credit Association; Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service; Economic Research Service; and the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration. 

    For more information, contact Suzanne Street at 410-621-2355. 

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    Kat Harting, media specialist, UMES Department of Agriculture,410-651-6084, kharting@umes.edu. 

    Contact:Suzanne Waters Street, director, UMES Office of Public Relations,410-621-2355,sstreet@umes.edu.