The America’s Farmers programs, sponsored by Bayer Fund, are back for another year to strengthen farming communities across the country. America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education is partnering with farmers across the country to help strengthen rural public school districts through $15,000 STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) grants.
Since 2010, America’s Farmers have awarded more than $53 million to worthy causes, students, and public schools across the country. Because farmers know the needs of their communities, the America’s Farmers programs rely on them to help identify the most worthy causes. For the Grow Rural Education program specifically, farmers nominate a local public school that can then apply for one of the grants by visiting AmericasFarmers.com. The program has strengthened schools by bringing together students, teachers, farmers, and community members to make STEM programs more engaging. In 2019, St. Charles West High School, in St. Charles, Missouri received a Grow Rural Education grant to develop a dedicated STEM lab equipped with an aquaponics system that breeds fish and grows plants within an integrated environment. In addition, educators purchased 15 drones for programming, video production, and to monitor crops in real time.
“As educators, we are constantly looking for new ways to excite our students, but oftentimes the challenge is securing the resources to make our ideas become a reality,” said Jeremey Jackson, a technology education teacher at St. Charles West High School. “We’re so grateful for the Grow Rural Education grant because we’re now able to provide a unique and interactive learning experience for our students that incorporates both ag and tech concepts and will ultimately better prepare them for life after high school.”
Farmers can nominate their local public school district from January 1 to April 1, 2020. After a school district receives a nomination, Bayer Fund will notify the district and encourage administrators and teachers to submit a grant application describing their desired STEM project by April 15, 2020. A panel of qualified math and science teachers reviews the applications and selects the finalists. The program’s Farmer Advisory Council, made up of approximately 30 farming leaders from across the country, will then select the winning school districts.
“Whether a student plans to begin a career immediately after high school or enroll in a college or trade school, it has become increasingly important for them to have a solid STEM foundation,” said Al Mitchell, Bayer Fund President. “Grow Rural Education is unique because we partner with farmers throughout the duration of the program, from the nomination process to selecting grant-winning schools. Through this partnership, we’re inspiring students, transforming classrooms, and strengthening rural school districts with STEM grants.”