America’s Farmers Grow Communities making positive impact in the Dakotas

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Farm Forum

ST. LOUIS – America’s Farmers Grow Communities will partner again with farmers to award more than $3.3 million to community nonprofits across the country. In the Dakotas, 94 organizations will receive donations in 2016. Sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, the program’s purpose is to make a positive impact in rural communities by giving farmers a chance to direct $2,500 donations to eligible nonprofit organizations of their choice. Farmer enrollment for Grow Communities kicks off on Aug. 1 and runs through Nov. 30, 2015.

Since the program’s inception, Grow Communities has helped fund a broad cross-section of organizations which reflect the makeup and character of rural America. For example, in Faulk County, South Dakota farmer Bill Schilder directed a $2,500 donation to Faulk County 4-H Leaders. The organization used the funds to provide educational classes and projects for youth.

“My wife and I were actively involved with 4-H and so were our kids,” said Schilder. “I was the livestock judging team coach for 20 years, and I helped to start the shooting sports program nearly 15 years ago. The program is a very important part of my family’s life, and it helped to shape each of us into who we are today. I couldn’t be happier to direct this donation to Faulk County 4-H Leaders, because the organization does a great job of supporting youth in our community as they grow into responsible adults.”

Farmers have also directed donations to help fire departments purchase equipment and complete training, send FFA and 4-H groups to contests and conventions, provide food pantries with meals to serve those in need and boost agriculture curriculum in rural school districts. Other beneficiaries of the program have included health care organizations, youth and community centers, state parks and economic development programs, among many others.

“Thanks to the participation of farmers from across the country, more than 7,000 nonprofit organizations have received donations through Grow Communities in the past five years,” said Deborah Patterson, Monsanto Fund president. “We are excited to team up with farmers once again to help support the causes that mean the most to them and strengthen rural America.”

Dakota farmers can enroll in the program and find a complete list of program rules and eligibility information at www.GrowCommunities.com or by calling 877-267-3332 toll-free. Program winners will be announced in January. Follow Grow Communities’ new Facebook page to learn more about the program and connect with past winners at facebook.com/AmericasFarmersGrowCommunities.