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Lana Cusick, 202-720-3325


WASHINGTON, April 28, 2011 - USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) Administrator William Murphy today announced the names of the ten national winners of its 13th annual FFA Risk Management Strategies Writing Contest. RMA partners with the National FFA Organization each year in sponsoring an essay contest, as a means of promoting risk management strategies in farming operations.

"This contest challenges FFA members to apply strategies demonstrating risk management principles," Murphy said. "Nine out of 10 of RMA’s regional offices have staff members who were in the FFA.”

This year's winners were chosen from 140 entries on the basis of content, adherence to the assigned topic, grammar, organization, originality and creativity. The students submit an original 1,000 word essay on the topic of risk management strategies used in a supervised agricultural experience. Students are expected to analyze the risks, describe their risk management strategy and indicate which 'tools' were used to minimize risk and how they were applied.

Winners and their advisors will travel to Washington, D.C. during the week of May 5 for a RMA/FFA Day at USDA, where they will receive their awards, and visit with a panel of USDA employees to discuss their career paths in the Department. USDA’s Women in Working Lands, an inter-agency group of employees, will participate. The students will also spend a day meeting with members of Congress, touring Capitol Hill, and attending a briefing of the House Agriculture Committee.

The essay contest winners are:

Patrick Arkfeld, Nebraska City, Neb.
Whitney Bowman, Quicksburg, VA.
Jacob Chisholm, Twin Valley, Minn.
Joshua Conaway, Ringwood, Okla.
Wesley Davis, Point Pleasant, W.V.
John Duke, Hooks, Texas
Joshua Mabrey, Bardstown, Ken.
Lindsey Pritchett, Harrison, Ariz.
Julie Riess, Grapeland, Texas
Dustin Stanton, Centralia, MO.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call 800-795-3272 (voice), or 202-720-6382 (TDD).