At the Farm Progress Show in Boone, IA, Monsanto announced that their America’s Farmers Grow Communities program was being expanded following two pilot projects. The program gives farmers a chance to win $2,500 for their community.
"As we talk to farmers one of the areas we hear consistently is a need for support in their local communities and in rural communities," said John Raines, Monsanto’s customer advocacy lead. "Our rural communities are the heart of America and certainly the lifeblood of America’s farmers. But most rural communities don’t have today the tax base that they had years gone by and in fact rural communities are no different than most communities, they are having to stretch their dollars farther today than ever before."
So that’s why Monsanto created America’s Farmers Grow Communities. Raines says they had a pilot that began in January in the states of Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas. Monsanto gave away nearly $500,000 to local communities in 179 counties.
One farmer in each county was randomly selected to win $2,500 to benefit their local non-profit," Raines said. "The money could be donated to 4-H or FFA, great organizations for youth in agriculture; to educational programs; civic and or non-profit groups."
Raines says that Pilot 1 was so successful and the feedback was so exceptional that working with the Monsanto Fund, the company’s philanthropic arm, a second pilot provided about $750,000 to nearly 300 counties in seven states including California, Kansas, Nebraska, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, and South Dakota.
"We’re going to move beyond the pilot phase and we’re going to significantly expand the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program starting right here today, at a farmers conference, the Farm Progress Show," said Brett Begemann, chairman of the Monsanto Fund. "This expansion is going to reach 1,204 counties throughout 38 states and invest over $3 million in our rural communities on an annual basis."
Farmers will have the opportunity to sign up at the Farm Progress Show and win $2,500 for their county. Farmers age 21 and over who are actively engaged in farming at least 250 acres of row crops, 40 acres of vegetables or 10 acres of tomatoes or peppers are eligible to sign up. One winner will be drawn from each of the 1,204 counties.
"For the entire duration of the sign-up period, Aug. 31 through Dec. 31, Monsanto Fund will donate $1 to the United Way for every entry," Begemann said. "All of those donation’s will stay in the local community of the entrant that signs up."
Farmers can also apply online at www.growcommunities.com or call 877-267-3332.