If you're a college student and love Delta cotton, Delta Farm Press and Syngenta Crop Protection want to hear from you.

Give us your ideas for responsible stewardship to ensure the longevity and viability of Delta cotton production for future generations, and you could win a grand prize of $2,500 in the Future of Delta Cotton Student Essay Contest.

All undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled for the spring 2008 semester at Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University, the University of Arkansas or the University of Tennessee are eligible to apply.

One undergraduate essay writer and one graduate essay writer from each university will win. The undergraduate essay and the graduate essay with the highest cumulative score will be awarded the grand prize. Eight total prices will be awarded, including two grand prizes of $2,500 and six honorary prizes of $1,000.

Essays will be accepted beginning Feb. 18, 12:01 a.m. CST, and will extend through April 18, 11:59 p.m. CST.

Judging will take place May through July, and winners will be determined on or around July 31.

Essays and entry forms must be submitted electronically. For complete information on the contest go to www.FutureOfDeltaCotton.com. For a list of grand prize and honorary prize winners, check the site after Aug. 15.

Chad Steiner, cotton crop manager for Syngenta and a judge in the contest said Syngenta “is pleased to be a sponsor of the Future of Delta Cotton Student Essay Contest. We are committed to the U.S. cotton industry and its future success, and additionally, we support and promote education of students with links to the industry.

“It is our goal to bring these two efforts together and ask students to share their ideas for responsible stewardship of Delta cotton production for future generations of growers.

“We encourage all graduate and undergraduate students at the selected Delta land grant universities to visit the Future of Delta Cotton Web site for more information and to submit their essay online.”

Entries are to be submitted in one of the two judging categories (undergraduate or graduate). Choose one topic and write an original essay using 750 to 1,000 words to address the chosen topic. The topics are:

  1. What can growers in the cotton industry do to support and encourage the future production of cotton in the Delta in light of recent acre shifts to other crops, such as an increase in corn production acres to support the demand for biofuels?

  2. As someone interested in the cotton industry, how would you market cotton production to future generations of Delta producers to ensure its longevity/viability?

  3. Evaluate the impact of cotton production on the agricultural, educational and economic systems of the Delta in the 20th century. What can future generations of Delta cotton producers learn from this history?

  4. It is projected that by 2015 China will import nearly half (47 percent) of the world's cotton production. What should the cotton industry as a whole, and more specifically Delta producers, do to make U.S. cotton more attractive to Chinese buyers?

  5. What technological innovation has most impacted Delta cotton production to date? What technological advancements are needed to make future Delta cotton production both viable and economically significant to the grower?

Judges in the contest are:

  • Tom Barber, assistant professor of cotton agronomy at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, Ark.

  • Chad Steiner, cotton crop manager for Syngenta Crop Protection Inc. in the Southern Field Crops Business Unit, Memphis, Tenn.

  • Sandy Stewart, a Burch and D&PL associate professor and cotton specialist for the Dean Lee Research Station at the Louisiana State University AgCenter.

  • Marjory Walker, director of communication, production and audio visual services for the National Cotton Council, Memphis, Tenn.

  • Elton Robinson, editor of Delta Farm Press, Atoka, Tenn.

  • Darrin Dodds, Extension cotton specialist at Mississippi State University.