GROWMARK Announces 2021 Essay Contest Winners


GROWMARK 2021 FFA Essay Contest state winners. Winners include: Maggie Handfelt of East Dubuque, Illinois, Sydney Benscoter of Marengo, Iowa, Marleigh Worden of Greenville, Michigan, Madilynn Lippa of Montrose, Missouri, Lily Wolf of Hamilton, Ohio, and Sydney Burling of Lake Mills, Wisconsin. 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.

Handfelt is a student at Galena High School and a member of the Galena FFA chapter. Her FFA advisor is Sarah Lee. Benscoter is a student at Iowa Valley Jr/Sr High School and a member of the Marengo FFA chapter. Her FFA advisor is Marcia Kilgard. Worden is a student at Link Learning High School and a member of the Montcalm Area Career Center FFA chapter. Her FFA advisor is Amanda Sturm. Lippa is a student at Montrose R-XIV School District and a member of the Montrose FFA chapter. Her FFA advisor is Shayla Coale. Wolf is a student at Edgewood High School and a member of the Edgewood/Butler Tech FFA chapter. Her FFA advisor is Kellie Beiser. Burling is a student at Lake Mills High School and a member of the Lake Mills FFA chapter. Her FFA advisor is Luke Wiedenfeld.

Each state’s contest winner receives a $500 award from GROWMARK at their state FFA convention. The winner’s FFA chapter also receives a $300 award in honor of their accomplishment.

Four runners-up in each state receive a $125 award. The runners-up and their FFA chapters are, in alphabetical order by state: 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.

Cade Haughenbury, North Linn FFA chapter, Coggon, Iowa; Zach Ihde, North Fayette Valley FFA chapter, West Union, Iowa; Mattie Nielsen, Audubon FFA chapter, Hamlin, Iowa; and Tessa Tauke, Beckman Catholic FFA chapter, Earlville, Iowa.

Jeanna Bischer, Ubly FFA chapter, Ruth, Michigan; Kaitlyn Hansen, Montcalm Area Career Center FFA chapter, Sheridan, Michigan; Kelsey Hubach, Careerline Tech AM FFA chapter, Hudsonville, Michigan; and Julie-Ann Mulder, Montcalm Area Career Center FFA chapter, Stanton, Michigan.

Maggie Collins, Jefferson FFA chapter, Ravenwood, Missouri; Emily Goetting, Carrollton ACC FFA chapter, Norborne, Missouri; Ashland Higgins, Troy FFA chapter, Moscow Mills, Missouri; and Abigail Miller, Eldon FFA chapter, Olean, Missouri.

Ava Knapke, Celina FFA chapter, Celina, Ohio; Cassandra Mavis, Fairview FFA chapter, Edgerton, Ohio; Luke Meyer, Fort Loramie FFA chapter, Anna, Ohio; and Cassidy Mrakuzic, Black River FFA chapter, Homerville, Ohio.

Eve Ihlenfeld, Slinger FFA chapter, West Bend, Wisconsin; Chase Patterson, Unity FFA chapter, Centuria, Wisconsin; Taryn Smits, Randolph Cambria-Friesland FFA chapter, Cambria, Wisconsin; and Collin Zimmermann, Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah FFA chapter, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

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.

GROWMARK is an agricultural cooperative serving almost 400,000 customers across North America, providing agronomy, energy, facility engineering and construction, and logistics products and services, as well as grain marketing and risk management services. Headquartered in Bloomington, Illinois, GROWMARK owns the FS trademark, which is used by member cooperatives. GROWMARK also owns and operates SEEDWAY, the largest full-line seed company in the United States. More information is available at


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