Chatter about the heat was nearly as high as the temperature yesterday at the Farm Progress® Show in Decatur, Ill., so Deborah Patterson, the Monsanto Fund president, encouraged the crowd to focus on cool thoughts as she announced the 2013 America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education℠ grant winners at the annual celebration event.
“This year, the Monsanto Fund will award 181 grants for a total of $2.3 million, bringing the total America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education℠ impact to more than $4.8 million since 2011,” said Patterson.
The program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, gave farmers in 1,271 eligible counties the opportunity to nominate school districts for a grant of up to $25,000 to enhance math and science education. More than 73,000 farmers submitted nominations to show community support for their area school districts.
“In the program’s second year, a record number of farmers actively showed community support for their local rural school districts,” said Patterson. “Farmers recognize the importance of education and how math and science skills are used on a daily basis.”
Brett Begemann, Monsanto’s president and chief commercial officer, addressed an audience of more than 200 Illinois farmers, faculty and students as the guest speaker at the celebration.
“Monsanto and the Monsanto Fund have a long history of supporting education,” said Begemann. “With this program, I’m really proud that we have developed a way to work with farmers to support science, technology, engineering and math education in rural communities. Together, we can make a difference within our rural school districts that are in need of help.”
Grant applications were based on merit, need and community involvement. The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council, comprised of farmer-leaders with an interest in agriculture, education and community, selected the winning applications from a pool of finalists previously determined by a panel of educators from ineligible districts.
With the Farm Progress Show being held in Illinois, 13 Illinois school districts were invited and recognized at the celebration event.
Visit the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education℠ website to see a full list of the grant winners.