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,http://twitter.com/agconnect Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/agconnect or YouTube.http://www.youtube.com/agconnect

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