Kansas Public School District Receives $10,000 Grant for Plasma Cutter

Students in Girard USD 248, Kan., will soon be learning new skills in class. Thanks to the support of local farmers and America’s Grow Rural Education, Girard USD 248 received a $10,000 grant to purchase a technology-driven plasma cutter, which will allow the district to offer new vocational courses. The plasma cutter will help students learn the advanced math and design skills in metal fabrication, an integral part of machinery and welding careers.

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 during the last program year.

Girard benefitted from the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program during the previous program season, too. In 2012, Girard USD 248 won a $25,000 grant to purchase handheld technology to increase interest in math, science and agriculture courses.

“America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education has done so much for our school and the funding has helped kids all over Crawford County,” said Tom Stegman, assistant high school principle at Girard USD 248. “We would like to say thanks to our local farmers, because they have done a great job of supporting our community and its schools, and without them this would not be possible.”

Girard USD 248 was presented with the $10,000 grant in Oct. before the homecoming football game.

Nominated school districts across the country submitted grant applications last 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.

America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education launched nationally in 2012 and has grown to include 1,289 eligible counties in 39 states. Since its inception, the program has invested nearly $5 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 third year, this program is part of the Monsanto Fund's overall effort to support rural education and communities. The 2014 nomination period is Jan. 6 to April 6, 2014. Applications are due April 21, 2014. To learn more about the program, please visit GrowRuralEducation.com.