The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

November 13, 2013

Limestone schools awarded $10,000 grant

The News Courier

From staff reports

Thanks to the support of local farmers and a national rural education program, Limestone County students will be able to use state-of-the-art equipment to prepare for their careers.

The Limestone County School System received a $10,000 grant to purchase a Torchmate CNC plasma cutting system and two laptop computers. The grant was made possible through the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program.

“I believe all students will benefit from the grant through the use of this equipment, especially the students who have a career interest in welding or CNC technology,” said Ben Maples, Future Farmers of America advisor at Tanner High School.

The program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, offers farmers the chance to nominate a local public school district, which can then compete for a grant of up to $25,000 to enhance math and/or science education. More than 1,150 nominated school districts submitted applications. The Monsanto Fund will invest $2.3 million through America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education grants this year.

“The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education grant is making a difference for the students in Limestone County, by allowing them the opportunity to gain hands-on career training as well as helping them to improve their math skills,” said Maples.

The check presentation was made during last week’s FFA meeting at Tanner High School, where Monsanto representative, Toby Covin, hosted the presentation. Stan Usery, a member of the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council, was also in attendance. Council members review the top grant applications and select the winning school districts. 

The districts were nominated by local farmers and submitted their grant applications in the spring. During the summer, a panel of educators reviewed and evaluated applications based on merit, need and community involvement. The strongest submissions were then sent to the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council. The Advisory Council, comprised of farmers with an interest in agriculture and education, selected the winning grant applications from this pool of finalists.

“A record number of America’s farmers stepped up this year to improve math and science education in farming communities across the country,” said Deborah Patterson, Monsanto Fund president. “By nominating their local school districts to compete for this grant opportunity, these farmers demonstrated their dedication to growing the next generation.”

America's Farmers Grow Rural Education helps farmers support math and science education in local rural school districts. It launched in 2012 and includes 1,271 counties in 39 states. Since its inception, the program has invested more than $4.8 million in rural school districts across the country.

The program is part of the Monsanto Fund's overall effort to support rural education and communities. America's Farmers Grow Communities, which offers winning farmers the chance to direct a $2,500 donation to a nonprofit organization in their county, is also part of this effort. The programs combined have contributed more than $15 million to rural communities.

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