Online voting is now open for the Ag community to help select the 2011 "Advocating for Agriculture Awards" winners, and the deadline to vote is Dec. 9. Winners get a free trip to the AG CONNECT Expo 2011, which will be held in January 2011 in Atlanta, GA.

The "Advocating for Agriculture Awards" recognize those who support "in a compelling way the work of farmers and ranchers to provide abundant and affordable food and fiber." There are nine finalists in the three award categories: “Woman of the Year,” “Community Advocate” and “Next Generation of Ag.”

AG CONNECT Expo is slated for Jan. 8-10, 2011 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Geo. The expo is a gathering place for those who advocate for and support production agriculture. It includes a large trade show which offers the latest innovations, products, services and technology; access to industry experts. There also are numerous quality learning and networking opportunities.

Check out the show on Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

The grand prize winner in each of the three award categories will receive a free trip to AG CONNECT Expo 2011, including round-trip airfare for two to Atlanta from anywhere in the continental United States. Grand prize winners will be announced Dec. 10.

Here are the nominees:

The nominees for “Next Generation of Ag” are Chad Bremmer, Pearl City, Ill.; Elliott Marsh, Statesboro, Geo., and Erin Mohler, Columbia, Mo.

The nominees for “Ag Woman of the Year” are Beverly Hall, Baxter, Tenn.; Debbie Lyons-Blythe, White City, Kan.; and Maria McGinnis (Madison, Wis.

The nominees for “Community Advocate” are Ray Bowman, Frankfort, Ky.; Melinda Jackson, Lake Arthur, N.M.; and Jerry Schleicher, Parkville, Mo.

All finalists have won a Flip Ultra HD camcorder and have prepared a video to support their nomination.

Source: Association of Equipment Manufacturers