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US (NE): $25,000 grant for high school greenhouse

Plattsmouth High School (PHS) students will start digging in to their biology and applied math studies, literally. Thanks to the support of local farmers and America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, Plattsmouth Community Schools (PCS) received a $25,000 grant to build and run a high school greenhouse.

Students will learn about the complexity of plants through hands-on activities. The project will focus on plant biology and applied math, while serving students from multiple career clusters and with varied needs. Most importantly, this project will provide students interested in agriculture and agribusiness with relevant, practical experiences.

America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, 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 Program provides rural school districts with the funds necessary to supplement and expand agricultural programs and projects related to math and science,” said Cherie Larson, district curriculum director. “This program will impact many students and families in Plattsmouth. Without the support of the Grow Rural Education Program, the district would not be able to meet the students’ agricultural interests, and would not be able to develop the math and science skills needed to build and run a greenhouse.”

A check presentation ceremony took place on Friday, September 27, to celebrate the district’s success. School administrators, students and community members gathered together at the Plattsmouth High School football game to acknowledge this achievement. Local farmers who participated in the nomination process were also in attendance. Monsanto representative, Rich Peters, hosted the event and presented Plattsmouth Community Schools with their ceremonial check.

Nominated school districts across the country submitted grant applications in the spring. During the summer, a panel of educators from ineligible districts 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 farmer-leaders 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. The Monsanto Fund is committed to strengthening rural America and this program is an exciting way to honor that commitment.”

America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education launched nationally in 2012 and has grown to include 1,271 eligible counties in 39 states. Since its inception, the program has invested more than $4.8 million in rural school districts across the country.

America's Farmers Grow Rural Education helps farmers support math and science education in local rural school districts. Currently in its second year, this 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. Enrollment for 2014 Grow Communities is currently underway. Visit to enter to win $2,500 for your county.

To date, these programs combined have contributed more than $15 million to rural communities. To learn more about either program, please visit

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