Monsanto Fund supports fire departments across Indiana through America’s Farmers Grow Communities

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, approximately 1,375,000 fires were reported in the United States last year. Firefighters are overworked across the country, but the problem is acute in rural areas, where most departments are staffed by volunteers. These rural, volunteer fire departments are especially reliant on supplemental funding. In Indiana, local farmers are trying to help by directing generous donations to their local departments.

For the past three years, local farmers have been doing their part to support volunteer fire departments throughout the state. Since the launch of America’s Famers Grow Communities in 2011, Indiana farmers have donated $120,000 to fire departments in rural communities. Over 45 fire departments statewide have used the farmer-directed donations to purchase fire rescue equipment.

In rural areas, firefighters commonly face safety issues related to the use of grain bins. Over the past 50 years, more than 900 cases of grain engulfment have been reported, with a 62% fatality rate, according to researchers at Purdue University. Firefighters who participate in grain bin related safety training programs are better equipped to successfully extract people from grain bin engulfment, preventing serious injury and fatalities.

Jeanne Flanders, a Hamilton County farmer, directed her Grow Communities donation to White River Township Fire Department, so firefighters could receive essential grain bin rescue training.

“We are a big farming community and the townships store large amounts of grain. It is important for the departments to be prepared for any type of grain bin hazard,” said Ms. Flanders. “With this grant, the whole department can participate.”

Since the program’s inception, farmers have helped fund more than 5,200 organizations in rural America through America’s Farmers Grow Communities. The program launched nationally in 2011 and has grown to include 1,289 eligible counties in 39 states. This program is part of the Monsanto Fund’s overall effort to support rural communities. America’s Farmers also help farmers strengthen math and science education in rural school districts through the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program. To date, these programs combined have contributed more than $15 million to rural communities. To learn more about either program, please visit