by Darin Powell, BG R-1 Superintendent
Local farmers have nominated the Bowling Green R-I school district to apply for a grant of either $10,000 or $25,000 through America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education. The program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, gives farmers the opportunity to nominate their local school district for a chance to apply for a merit-based grant to enhance math and/or science education.
America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education is a locally focused initiative to strengthen math and science education in rural America. Sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, the program allows farmers to nominate a public school district to compete for a grant of either $10,000 or $25,000. One $10,000 grant will be awarded in an eligible U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Crop Reporting District (CRD). An additional 22 grants of $25,000 will be awarded to one eligible school district in each state or designated region. Overall, this grant donates more than $2.3 million to local school districts in 1,271 counties across 39 states.
Our district may continue to receive nominations from farmers until April 15 of this year. Because community support is one component of our score, the more nominations we receive, the stronger our application will be. Here are several tools available online at the site below that will help spread the word in our community to our local farmers.
In addition, below is a quick summary of some questions you might have as a community member about this grant process.
Who can nominate a school district?
Farmers who live or farm in an eligible county can nominate a school district. Visit GrowRuralEducation.com for a listing of all 1,271 eligible counties. No purchase is necessary to nominate a school district, and the farmer does not have to be a Monsanto Company customer.
Farmers must be at least 21 years and be actively engaged in farming with a minimum of 250 acres of corn and/or soybeans and/or cotton; and/or 40 acres of open field vegetables, or at least 10 acres of tomatoes, peppers and/or cucumbers grown in protected culture.
How does a farmer nominate a public school district?
The nomination process is simple. Eligible farmers can fill out a short nomination form, which is available at GrowRuralEducation. com. or by calling 1-877-267-3332. A printed copy of the nomination form and rules is available on this website or by calling the number. Completed forms can be mailed to:
America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education
914 Spruce Street
St. Louis, MO 63102
Mailed farmer nominations must be postmarked by April 15, 2013.
What is the time frame for farmer nominations?
Farmers can nominate school districts Jan. 7 through April 15.
Does it matter how many farmers nominate our school district?
At least one farmer in your community must nominate your school district to make it eligible to apply for a grant. Farmer nominations also are an important element in the evaluation of the grant applications, but not the only one. The more farmers who nominate a school district, the more it demonstrates community support and, therefore, strengthens the district’s application. However, school districts must also submit a worthy grant application.
How will the school districts’ applications be evaluated?
School districts that submit an application for a $10,000 grant will compete against other school districts that are located in its CRD. CRDs with fewer than five eligible schools will compete against each other. School districts that submit an application for a $25,000 grant will compete against school districts that are located in its state or designated region. States with fewer than 75 eligible rural school districts will compete in a region. Visit GrowRuralEducation.com for a list of regions. Grants will be awarded based on merit, need and community support. A team of 20 math and science teachers from non-eligible school districts will read and score all applications. The top scoring applications from each CRD and from each state/region will be finalists and will be brought forward for final review and scoring. The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council, a group of 30 farmers from across the country, will read and score the applications of the finalists and will select the winning grant applications.
Our administrative team and Board of Education will be working hand in hand in deciding what to apply for in the areas of improving math and/or science education over the next month. We appreciate any support you can provide the district in this process. Please contact me at 324-5441 if you have any questions about this grant or any other aspect of our school district.