Centralia farmer receives grant from American Farmers Grow Communities

Friday, March 9, 2012 | 5:54 p.m. CST

CENTRALIA – Darren Reynolds grew a little bit of luck with the corn and soybeans he grows on his farm in Centralia.

After entering the American Farmers Grow Communities contest, Reynolds learned that he was the Boone County winner, randomly selected for a $2,500 grant to the nonprofit organization of his choice.

The donations are made possible through the St. Louis-based Monsanto Fund, which aims to highlight the daily contributions farmers make to society. A representative from the Monsanto Fund will award the check to Reynolds in a ceremony at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Centralia High School Agriculture building.

Reynolds decided to enter the contest after seeing an advertisement in a magazine. To enter, he called a phone number provided by the America’s Farmer Grow Communities program. In January, competition organizers notified him that he won.

Reynolds chose to donate the grant to the Centralia Young Farmers because he’s been the treasurer of the organization since 2006. The money will go toward scholarships for seniors at Centralia High School planning to pursue  careers in agriculture.

“I feel very proud to be involved with them because they are the main providers of scholarships to students going into agriculture,” Reynolds said. “Coincidentally, other winners (of the grant) in past years have donated their money to the same cause, so we’ve been able to keep it going this year.”

To enter, applications had to be at least 21 years of age. Entrants also had to farm a minimum of 250 acres of corn, soybeans and/or cotton, 40 acres of open field vegetables or at least 10 acres of vegetables grown in protected culture. Reynolds has more than 300 acres of corn and soybeans on his farm in Centralia.

According to the America’s Farmers website, winners were randomly selected in drawings of the entrants from each county. One winner was selected from each of the 1,245 eligible counties in 39 states.

Eligible counties had a minimum of 30,000 acres of corn, soybeans, cotton or vegetables planted each year, according to the website. Winners had to use the $2,500 grant to improve local communities and organizations in the county in which they live. 

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