(AREA) -- The Monsanto Fund has launched its 4th year of America's Farmers Grow Communities, providing farmers in eligible counties the chance to win a $2,500 donation for a local nonprofit organization of their choice. Farmers in the Thumb and Blue Water area are encouraged to sign up. There will be 1,289 winners across 39 states. Since the program started, $370,000 has been invested in rural communities throughout the state of Michigan. FFA chapters have received a total of $40,000 in Grow Communities donations, $70,000 has been given to fire and health related organizations, service organizations, like food pantries, have received $92,500 and a total of $30,000 has been donated to 4-H clubs across the state. Farmers and rural community members may visit www.americasfarmers.com/growcommunities or call 1-877-267-3332 to submit an idea for a nonprofit in need of funding.
Last year, the donation doubled to $5,000 for certain counties declared natural disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture due to drought. Cliff Gordon selected the Sanilac County FFA and Sanilac County FFA Alumni organizations to split the money. The Sanilac County FFA used their $2,500 grant to teach youth season extension production techniques. The Sanilac County FFA Alumni directed their $2,500 grant toward materials for a permanent building at the Sanilac County 4-H Fairgrounds in Sandusky to house the Life's Greatest Miracle Birth exhibit at the fair.