John Ralph Essay Competition 2012

SUBMISSIONS CLOSED: 19/10/2012

Two cash prizes: $5000 for professionals and $1000 for students

Incentives for professors and lecturers who get undergraduate
students involved

Prizes awarded at the 2012 Agriculture Roundtable Conference


The John Ralph Essay Competition

In 2010, the Australian Farm Institute established an annual Essay Competition. John Ralph was the inaugural chairman of the Institute and argued strongly for comprehensive and objective research as the basis for sound policy decision-making, particularly for the agriculture sector. This competition was established to recognise John Ralph's contribution.

In 2010, the John Ralph Essay Competition was won by Daniel James Gibbons for his essay, Australia's Primary Industries - A Bulwark Against External Shocks.

In 2011 the Competition was won by Miss Nicolette Cameron, student, for her essay Agriculture and energy, a growing challenge for the world and Australia.

Topic 2012

Is it feasible for Australia to become the food bowl of Asia, and if so, what policies or actions are required by industry and/or government to make this a reality over the next 15 years?

In addressing these topics, entrants will be expected to:

  • realistically assess probable demand from Asia over the next 15 years
  • realistically assess the potential of Australian agriculture to meet that demand
  • identify actions by industry and/or government that might assist the sector to meet that demand.

If the view is that Australian agriculture cannot fulfil that role, identify:

  • a plausible future for Australian agriculture over the next 15 years
  • actions that should be taken by industry and/or government to achieve that future.

Rules of entry

There are two categories for this contest, one for professionals and one for students.

The professional category is open to farmers, agribusiness participants, policy makers, consultants and researchers. 

The undergraduate student category is open to person undertaking full time education. Professors, lecturers and course coordinators are encouraged to support this competition  by including the essay topic in their course program. 

A judging panel consisting of Institute staff and John Ralph will have the task of select two winning entries and these will be published (along with a number of other papers on the same topic) in the Spring 2012 edition of the Farm Policy Journal.

Entries must have from 1500 to 4500 words in length, and material beyond the 4,500 limit (excluding reference list) will not be considered by judges.

The essay is expected to present the author point of view based on a sounds and well-argued reasoning. A scientific style (method, quotes, references and reference list) is not compulsory, but important references should be cited. The essay should be written in a style suitable for an audience that has some familiarities with the topic, but does not have a great depth of knowledge of the issues. 

Entries should be submitted in electronic format (.doc or .docx for Windows) by Friday 19 October 2012. Please register your interest by filling in the following online form. 

Prizes

The winner of the John Ralph Essay contest will receive a cash prize of $5000, and have the essay published in the summer edition of the Farm Policy Journal. The winner will also receive a full membership to the Australian Farm Institute (value $286) which includes a Farm Policy Journal subscription for one year and an entry to the next Agriculture Roundtable Conference.

The student category winner of the John Ralph Essay contest will receive a cash prize of $1000, and will have their essay published in the summer edition of the Farm Policy Journal.The winner will also receive a full membership to the Australian Farm Institute (value $286) which includes a Farm Policy Journal subscription for one year and an entry to the next Agriculture Roundtable Conference.

An opportunity for lecturers to involve students

Professors and lecturers are encouraged to participate by engaging their student with this competition. The Australian Farm Institute hopes this essay competition will create discussion and debate around the topic, and encourage students and the wider community to engage in the numerous vibrant and topical questions related to agriculture studies.

Any Professor or Lecturers interested in this project are invited to include the competition topic in their student’s assessment tasks, and to register at least three entries in the competition.

These professors and lecturer will be asked to submit a minimum of 3 entries to the competition and will be offered:

  • One year’s free subscription to the Farm Policy Journal
  • One hardcopy of an Institute research report of their choice

Judging criteria

Entries will be judged using the following criteria;

  • Originality: proposed policies should go beyond just criticizing existing policies, and preferably propose fresh ideas or improvements that will help the sector to grow;
  • Comprehensiveness: the policy will need to address a full range of agricultural activities and sectors involved in Australian agriculture;
  • Practicality: proposed policies will need to find the right balance between being bold and practical – there should be a reasonable chance proposed policies will be adopted.
  • Clarity: the policy statement should be written in clear, jargon-free language so that it is easily read and understood.

Entry Form

Entries need to be submitted in electronic format (.doc or .docx for Windows) by Friday 19 October 2012. Please register your interest by filling in the following online form. 

For more information, feel free to contact us by email.

Good luck!
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