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ST. LOUIS -- Twenty school districts in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio received $275,000 in grants this year from America's Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. The program partners with farmers to help keep rural schools growing by supporting math and science education.

Winning districts have implemented many innovative programs for use of the grant funds, including upgraded technology for hands-on learning, greenhouses and outdoor classroom instruction, laboratory advancements and curriculum development.

Since 2011, Grow Rural Education has awarded more than $9 million to support math and science education in rural school districts across the country. "Funding for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education can be challenging for rural school districts," said Michelle Insco, Monsanto Fund program officer. "Grow Rural Education is helping enhance opportunities for rural students by supporting critical math and science initiatives required for successful careers in agriculture and other industries."

This year, winning school districts also received materials to help educate students on the importance of bees and butterflies in the pollination of plants, production of crops and to the ecosystem generally. A starter kit was provided to help winning school districts establish a pollinator garden, which will give students first-hand knowledge of the critical role habitat plays in providing food, shelter and places to lay eggs for bees and butterflies.

America's Farmers Grow Rural Education works with farmers to nominate public school districts to compete for math and science grants of $10,000 or $25,000. Grant applications are reviewed and finalists selected by a panel of teachers. Winning applications are selected by an advisory council comprised of farmers from across the U.S. Visit www.GrowRuralEducation.com to see the full list of winners for this year. A sister program, America's Farmers Grow Communities is currently in its enrollment period. To sign up, visit www.GrowCommunities.com before Nov. 30.

Learn more at cfiengage.org.

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