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Investing in rural education

Photo Courtesy of the Monsanto Company

AUDIO: Erin Glarner, Monsanto Company

A modern agriculture company presents America’s farmers a unique opportunity to invest in rural education. The company is not asking for money, but five minutes of one’s time.

America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, awards $2.3 million to rural school districts annually. Erin Glarner, community outreach manager for Monsanto, says the program aims to invest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum.

“In 2018 alone, there will be over two million jobs unfilled in STEM related fields. That’s primarily due to the fact that we don’t have a lot of up-to-date resources or curriculum in these schools. Basically, we are trying to provide the funding for schools to better implement more robust programs,” Glarner said.

Farmers kick-off the Grow Rural Education program by nominating their local school district. The local school district can then fill-out a grant application for an opportunity to receive a $10,000 or $25,000 grant. Glarner says farmers can nominate school districts by phone or online.

“They can go to www.growruraleducation.com,” Glarner said. “There is a nominate now button on that website. It’s a very quick and easy process; it takes less than five minutes to complete. There’s also a 1-800 number on the site (where) they can call in their nomination. Once the farmer has submitted their nomination for the district, the district will then receive a business reply postcard in the mail with a code to go online and submit their grant application.”

Farmers have until April 2nd to nominate their local school district to apply for one of the grants. School districts need to submit grant applications by April 15th. An advisory council, composed of farmers, will then review finalist applications and select winning school districts.