We aim to make America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education as easy to understand as possible. Of course, there are times we need to provide schools and farmers with additional detail about the program. Here are some of the most frequent questions we hear.
What is America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education?
America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education is sponsored by Bayer Fund and helps farmers positively impact their communities by supporting local school districts. Specifically, the program gives farmers the opportunity to nominate a rural public school district in their community to compete for a merit-based grant of $15,000 to enhance education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and/or math(STEM).
Why is Bayer Fund sponsoring this program?
We believe in rural America and are committed to helping farmers strengthen their communities. We understand that education is the cornerstone of any successful community. Most importantly, farmers have told us they want to help provide top-quality education to students in their local communities This program gives us all the opportunity to help improve education in rural America, thereby keeping rural schools growing.
Who can nominate a public school district?
Farmers must be at least 21 years of age and be actively engaged in farming. A farmer is “actively engaged in farming” if he or she performs the work on the farm, or hires and actively manages others who do so; and must meet all the criteria as specified in the Official Rules. No purchase is necessary to nominate a school district, and the farmer does not have to be a Bayer customer.
Does it matter how many farmers nominate a school district?
At least one farmer in your community must nominate your school district to make it eligible to apply for a grant. Farmer nominations are one element in the evaluation of the grant applications, but not the only one. The more farmers who nominate a school district, the more it demonstrates community support and, therefore, can strengthen the district’s application. However, school districts must also submit a worthy grant application that will compete with applications from other school districts within the designated state. Grant review and winner selection will be done by two separate panels – a team of STEM teachers will review all applications and score them. The top scorers become finalists, and the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council will review finalists and select winners.
Will I know if my school district has been nominated by a farmer?
Can individual schools apply for the grants?
No. This program provides funding through school districts only, and only one application per school district is accepted. The district can decide which specific schools, grades or groups of teachers to target with the program for which they are applying. Multiple applications from one school district may be cause for disqualification.
Are private or independent schools eligible to apply for this program?
No. Though we recognize that all schools look for opportunities to improve educational programming for their students, this grant program is focused specifically on rural public school districts, serving kindergarten through 12th grade.
Are charter schools eligible for this program?
A charter school district is eligible if it is a public school district according to NCES (National Center for Education Statistics).
Where can I find a preview of the Grow Rural Education grant application?
Please click here to preview the Grow Rural Education grant application. An invitation code is not necessary to preview the application: https://www.fund.bayer.us/grant/2017/1/1/americas-farmers-grow-rural-education
Is the online application the only way to apply for the grant?
Yes. School districts can only apply through the online grant application system.
When do I use my invitation code?
You must use your invitation code to register for the Grow Rural Education online system and every time you log in work on your grant application.
What is “character count”?
Character count includes all spaces and text in your response. For the grant application system, 500 characters equal approximately 90 words, or four lines of text.
How will the school districts’ applications be evaluated?
Grants will be judged based on merit, need and community support. A team of approximately 20 STEM teachers will read and score all applications. The top-scoring applications from each state/region will be finalists and will be brought forward for final review and scoring. The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council, a group of teachers and approximately 30 farmers from across the country, will read and score the applications of the finalists and will select the winning grant applications.
When and how should we expect to hear if we will be receiving a grant?
We will notify school districts via email about funding decisions in early August 2020.
If we are not selected, will Bayer Fund provide feedback on our application?
The Bayer Fund will provide the comments provided by the teacher reviewers upon request. Send the request with the name of the district, city and state to AFGREQuestions@Monsanto.com.
Can we apply for this program again next year, even if we receive a grant this time?
Yes. If a school district has complied with the grant requirements and if a farmer nominates the school district in 2020, it is eligible to apply for another America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education grant.
If my school district was nominated during a prior year’s program, does the school district have to be nominated again by farmers the following year?
Yes. School districts need to be nominated by farmers each year to be able to apply. After the school district is nominated, you will receive a new invitation code to access the updated application. If you registered with the Cybergrants online grant application system during a previous year, you will need to use your original username and password. If you don’t recall your username or password, please contact Technical Support by clicking on the Need Support button located on the bottom of each page.
What types of projects are typically funded?
The program funds many different types of projects focused on science, technology, engineering and/or math every year. We encourage school districts to write grant applications that will fund projects that meet the individual needs of the district and their goals for its students. The range of projects funded each year is broad and examples include, but aren’t limited to, starting or renovating greenhouses or school gardens, creating makerspaces, purchasing technology for math or science classrooms, and updating science lab equipment.
Can we apply for programming that enhances all areas of education, or must it be solely focused on science, technology, engineering or math?
Although there are needs in many areas of education, this program is focused solely on improving teaching and learning in STEM. We encourage programs that make connections between the disciplines and/or are multidisciplinary within science, technology, engineering and math.
In terms of the scope of project, is there a number of students or teachers you’d like to see served?
No. There is no minimum number of students or teachers who must be served by a program. Please be as accurate as possible in your estimation of the number of students and/or teachers who will be impacted or involved in the program. Grant reviewers will look at the quality of the program being proposed, and understand that sometimes the best programs serve fewer people at a more concentrated level.
Must the program we are applying for be a new program, or can it be an existing program?
You can apply for either a new program OR an existing program. If it is an existing program, please describe current successes as well as how you were able to fund the program in the past and why you need funding from the Bayer Fund for the program at this time.
Will Bayer Fund grants cover overhead/indirect costs?
Yes. Up to 20% of the requested grant amount can be used for overhead costs.
Can funds be used for staff salaries?
Yes. If additional staff members (part-time special instructors, trainers, etc.) are needed to deliver the proposed program, the Bayer Fund grant can be used to pay for those salaries. It is not intended to cover already budgeted salaries of existing teachers and staff.
What is the timeline to use the grant funds?
Grants are awarded in early August of each year and the program funds should be expended by the following October.
Will funding decisions be based on the financial need of the district or strictly on the merit of the proposed program?
Decisions will be based on a combination of financial need in the district, the merit of the proposed program and community support demonstrated by farmer nominations.
How does a farmer nominate a public school district?
The nomination process is simple. Eligible farmers fill out a short nomination form at http://www.americasfarmers.com/ or by calling 1-877-267-3332. A paper copy of the nomination form and rules can be printed at http://www.americasfarmers.com/ or requested by mail at 1-877-267-3332. Completed forms can be mailed to America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, Sales Support Center, 622 Emerson Road, Suite 150, St. Louis, MO 63141-9586. Mailed farmer nominations must be postmarked by April 1, 2020.
How much money will be awarded?
The Bayer Fund will award grants in the amount of $15,000, for a total of up to $1.9 million awarded to rural public school districts.
How do farmers find out about the program?
This program will be promoted to farmers through local radio and newspapers, direct mail, online, social media and with personal outreach to help build awareness of the opportunity. We encourage your district to also reach out to local farmers directly to invite them to nominate your district. We’ve supplied promotional materials to help school districts spread the word at www.GrowRuralEducation.com
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