ST. LOUIS – A $2,500 donation can go a long way to help rural communities. It can fund rescue equipment for a local fire department, purchase new books to fill a school library or help stock shelves for the local food pantry. Now, farmers in more than 1,200 eligible counties across 39 states can do their part to plant the seed to help grow their community by signing up for the 2nd annual America’s Farmers Grow CommunitiesSM. This program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, gives farmers the chance to direct $2,500 to their favorite community nonprofit.
“Participation in the first annual Grow Communities program was incredible, with nearly 50,000 farmers signing up for the chance to support their local communities,” said Deborah Patterson, Monsanto Fund President. “Farmers across the country made this program a huge success, and we are thrilled to announce that farmers again have the opportunity to help grow their communities.”
Grow Communities was created to benefit nonprofit community groups such as agriculture youth organizations, schools and other civic groups that are important to America’s farmers. For Dianne Stevens, a farmer in Benton County, Mo., the opportunity to help grow her community became a reality when she was selected as a Grow Communities winner in January 2011.
“I am honored to be chosen to be a part of America’s Farmers Grow Communities. As a farmer, we are in the business of growing crops to feed both America and the world. This donation will be used for the backpack program. The money will help us to feed some less fortunate kids who would otherwise go hungry on days that they are not at school. I am glad to see the Monsanto Fund showing its appreciation to its customers by giving back to the communities where farmers live and work,” said Stevens.
This year, the program has expanded to include a total of 1,245 counties. The addition of 341 new counties that meet the 30,000 corn, cotton and/or soybean, and vegetable acreage requirement will result in an additional $102,500 in donations.
Now through Nov. 30, 2011, farmers can apply online at www.growcommunities.com, or call 1-877-267-3332 to apply by phone. A $1 donation will be made to local United Way chapters for each farmer who signs up, to further enhance the investment in rural communities. Farmers who meet program eligibility requirements may enter regardless of involvement with previous Grow Communities programs.
Farmers age 21 and over who are actively engaged in farming a minimum of 250 acres of corn, soybeans and/or cotton, or 40 acres of open field vegetables, or at least 10 acres of tomatoes, peppers and/or cucumbers grown in protected culture are eligible. The program is open to all qualifying farmers, and no purchase is necessary in order to enter or win. Farmers who were eligible and/or participated in the program in 2010 may also make an application for 2011 if they meet the eligibility requirements.
One winner will be selected at random from each of the 1,236 eligible counties, and the Monsanto Fund will announce winning farmers and recipient nonprofits in January 2012.
Visit www.growcommunities.com to sign up and to learn more about America’s Farmers Grow Communities. This program is part of a broad commitment by Monsanto Fund to invest in farm communities, in order to highlight the important contributions farmers make every day to our society. To view the official rules for this program, visit www.growcommunities.com.