SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. — Compeer Financial’s Fund for Rural America, the Farm Credit cooperative’s giving program, awarded a total of $212,000 through the Agriculture Education and Classroom Equipment Grant program this year.
Sixty schools in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin located across Compeer Financial’s territory will be receiving grants of up to $4,000 each, funding a variety of hands-on learning tools and new technologies for agriculture education classrooms.
The lives of 12,290 students will be directly impacted through this grant program, which is intended to support agriculture education and motivate youth to further their knowledge of the agriculture industry.
With this ever-changing industry comes the need for program funding — and that’s where Compeer Financial steps in.
“The agriculture industry offers a variety of career opportunities, and exposing young adults to this starts in the classroom,” said Karen Schieler, senior corporate giving specialist at Compeer Financial.
“The goal of this grant program is to help develop and enhance modern, comprehensive agriculture education in schools, teaching students about its importance and limitless potential. These grants help to fuel the inspiration and exposure students receive in high schools.”
High school agriculture departments throughout Compeer’s 144-county territory were eligible to apply for an Agriculture Education and Classroom Equipment grant.
The grant funds will be used across a variety of classes, including animal and plant sciences, food science and chemistry, veterinary, horticulture, mechanics, forestry and wildlife, and aquatics.
Through new equipment in these classrooms, applicants say, students are provided with real-world, hands-on educational experiences, industry standard equipment experience, exposure to STEM concepts and development of lifelong skills.
Illinois organizations receiving grants in 2023 were:
• Camp Point Central High School — purchasing a CNC desktop machine.
• Elmwood Community School 322 — multiprocess welder with TIG kit, cart and extra tips.
• Freeport High School — equipment to till the garden, spread mulch and other materials, and turn compost piles.
• Grant Park School CUSD #6 — educational materials for career development events and mechanics tools.
• Heyworth High School — cordless drills with backup batteries, hanging base assemblies for greenhouse water system, water nozzles, calcium filter, and plugs to fix overhead water system.
• Lexington School District — MIG welders.
• Michelle Obama School of Technology and the Arts — a chicken kit, indoor hanging grow lights, commercial crops identification mounts, leaves and seeds of common trees identification mounts, soybean plant model, full-size mobile light cart, root systems display, Poultry Judging 101 CDE Manual team set, and Forestry CDE resources.
• Olympia High School/Olympia CUSD No. 16 — equipment and supplies to implement three new units in biology and three new units in agricultural science, including: dissecting microscopes, soils test kits, feed testing chemicals, jars, baskets, hydroponic fertilizer, rock wool, grafting knives, dome lids, trays, rootstock and scion wood, clay pebbles, buckets, tubing, air poppers, bowls, and DNA testing supplies.
• Pearl City Jr/Sr High School — equipment for labs and hands-on activities.
• Rich Township High School District 227 — corn stalk model, commercial crops identification mounts, plant mounting sheets, pig dissection mats, 4D science cell models complete set, leaves and seeds of common trees identification mounts, soybean plant model, plant science kit, and indoor hanging grow lights.
• River Ridge — small gas engines, set of digital micrometers, set of digital calipers, set of telescoping gauges, set of telescoping gauge balls, and feeler gauge set.
• Rolling Meadows High School — storage shed, refrigerator, food storage bins, heat sealer, plastic storage bags, hose, and a food prep table for food production and distribution at the school’s suburban farm.
• Sycamore High School — optical dissolved oxygen probes, oxygen gas sensors and turbidity sensors.
• Tri-Point CUSD #6J/Tri-Point High School — a greenhouse.
• Tri-Valley High School — supplies for horticulture curriculum and workshops.
• Unity High School — hand tools, small power tools and cleaning tools.
• Williamsfield School District — a stainless-steel commercial utility sink with drainboard, backsplash and faucet for the shop.