Rural communities are important to farmers. They give farmers a place to call home, a place to meet with friends for breakfast, a place to raise families. Now, Illinois farmers in 96 counties have the opportunity to win $2,500 awards for their favorite nonprofit organization. The awards are available through Monsanto Fund’s America’s Farmers Grow CommunitiesSM program. The program’s first two pilots provided nearly 500 farmers in 10 states with $2,500 awards to direct to their favorite nonprofit. That totals nearly $1.2 million invested since the first pilot program began in January. The program has now expanded to more than 1,200 counties across 38 states.
America’s Farmers Grow Communities program is intended to benefit non-profit community groups such as ag youth organizations, schools and other civic groups important to America’s farmers. Farmers can apply online at www.growcommunities.com, or they can call 1.877.267.3332 to apply by phone.
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. Farmers can enter now through Dec. 31, 2010. The program is open to all qualifying farmers, and no purchase is necessary in order to enter or win. One winner will be drawn from each of the participating counties, and Monsanto Fund will announce winning farmers and recipient organizations by February 2011.
Eligible counties in Illinois include: Adams, Alexander, Bond, Boone, Brown, Bureau, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, De Kalb, De Witt, Douglas, Edgar, Edwards, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Franklin, Fulton, Gallatin, Greene, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, La Salle, Lawrence, Lee, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Mason, Massac, McDonough, McHenry, McLean, Menard, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Perry, Piatt, Pike, Pulaski, Putnam, Randolph, Richland, Rock Island, Saline, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, St. Clair, Stark, Stephenson, Tazewell, Union, Vermilion, Wabash, Warren, Washington, Wayne, White, Whiteside, Will, Williamson, Winnebago, and Woodford.