March 17, 2011

Department of Agriculture Celebrates Legacy of George Washington Carver with Essay Contest

As part of National Agriculture Week, the Missouri Department of Agriculture launched a new initiative to engage youth in two of the cornerstones of agriculture - science and history. The George Washington Carver Essay Contest is open to Missouri fourth, fifth and sixth-grade students in public, private and home schools.

George Washington Carver's story of starting life in slavery and becoming a prominent businessman and scholar is not only compelling, but also positions him as an outstanding role model. Students are encouraged to write a creative and inspirational essay related to this year's theme, "If George Washington Carver were my teacher..."

"Whether you are from urban or rural areas of Missouri, George Washington Carver's contributions to agriculture are a great example for all of us about the importance of education and the power of positive thinking," said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. "It's appropriate, just as Black History Month comes to an end, to celebrate the legacy of this great Missourian."

The outstanding essay for each grade level will receive a $100 savings bond, and the top essay will receive an additional $200 savings bond.

Essays will be judged on creativity, originality, correctness of George Washington Carver facts and idea development, as well as grammar, word choice and organization. Entries should be postmarked or hand-delivered to the Missouri Department of Agriculture in Jefferson City no later than April 30, 2011. They may also be emailed to

For more information about the Missouri Department of Agriculture and its programs, visit