Calling all farmers.
Now through April 2, farmers can nominate their local public school districts to apply for $10,000 and $25,000 grants to enhance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education through the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Program.
Delaware last had a grant recipient in 2015, when Woodbridge School District in Sussex County was awarded $25,000. In 2013, Delmar received $25,000 and in 2012, Smyrna was the recipient of $10,000.
The Woodbridge agriculture department used the grant money in 2015 to purchase a fodder system, a 3-D printer, chrome books and some Vernier science probes.
Other past winning programs have used funds to improve internet connectivity, develop industrial arts labs and create life science and livestock learning laboratories.
Last year, eighth grade students in Rochelle, Illinois used a portion of the $25,000 GRE grant to build a 3-D printer, which the students used to create a prosthetic arm for an Illinois farmer who lost his left arm in a farming accident.
More focus is being put on STEM programs due in part because that's where the jobs are. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, nearly all of the fastest growing occupations between 2016-2026 are in STEM-related categories.
The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, will award approximately $2.3 million in 2018 to deserving schools. Since the program began in 2011, it has awarded more than $14 million to schools in rural America.
Delaware farmers can nominate a school district by visiting GrowRuralEducation.com or by calling 1-877-267-3332.
Nominated school districts have until April 15, 2018 to submit a grant application describing their project. An advisory council composed of farmer leaders then reviews finalist applications and selects the winning school districts.
After the school district receives a nomination, the Monsanto Fund will notify the district and encourage administrators and teachers to design a grant that enhances STEM education for their students.
Contact reporter Jeff Neiburg at (302) 983-6772, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Jeff_Neiburg.
Jeff Neiburg, The News JournalPublished 1:22 p.m. ET Jan. 16, 2018 | Updated 5:41 p.m. ET Jan. 16, 2018