Annual America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education nominations

Farm Forum

ST. LOUIS – For the second consecutive year, America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education , sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, will give South Dakota farmers the opportunity to enhance math and science programs in their communities. Now until April 15, 2013, farmers can nominate a local public school district to compete for a merit-based grant of up to $25,000. Administrators of nominated school districts may then submit grant applications through April 30, 2013. This year, the program expands to 26 new counties, for a total of 1,271 eligible counties across 39 states.

The program is part of a broad commitment by the Monsanto Fund to highlight the important contributions farmers make every day to society. Following a successful pilot in Minnesota and Illinois, America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education debuted nationally last year, awarding $2.3 million to school districts coast to coast.

“We believe engaging rural youth in their math and science studies lays the foundation for a bright future,” said Deborah Patterson, Monsanto Fund president. “This generation is the future of agriculture, and funding from the Grow Rural Education program helps ensure they are ready to be the next great leaders.”

Eligible farmers can nominate their favorite public school district by visiting and following the “Nominate Now” link on the top, left-hand corner of the page. Farmers may also nominate a school district by calling 1-877-267-3332.

In 2012, the following South Dakota school districts received a total of $55,000 to enhance math and science curriculums:

· Milbank School District, $10,000

· Parker School District, $10,000

· Wolsey-Wessington School District 20-6, $10,000

· Dell Rapids School District 49-3, $25,000

Thanks to the Grow Rural Education program, 2012 winner Milbank School District was able to purchase a phytomonitoring system that will be installed in the greenhouse to collect plant data.

“This cutting-edge system will allow our students to monitor photosynthesis,” said Jerry Janisch, Milbank High School agriculture education instructor. “We will now be able to take information we gather in the greenhouse and download it to computers in the classroom. All 165 of our agriculture students will be able to create graphs to demonstrate things like growth patterns. It is going to totally change the way I teach and the way they learn.”

Grants will be awarded by the Monsanto Fund based on merit, need and community support. The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council, a group of 30 farmer leaders from across the country, will select the winning grant applications.