Bayer Fund and Freeborn County farmers team up to direct donations to rural nonprofits and schools

Published 8:00 pm Friday, September 9, 2022

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Local farmer Ken Wangen recently directed a $5,000 Bayer Fund America’s Farmers Grow Communities donation to Freeborn County 4-H. 

Freeborn County 4-H will use the funds to hold livestock clinics by bringing in professionals in the livestock industries and provide hands-on education to enhance livestock learning that goes along with  the county’s strong participation in livestock project areas.  

The 4-H program will also hold 10 general project learning opportunities for 4-H members to learn from, create project work at and spark interest in those related project areas. Hopefully through these intentional efforts, project learning in livestock and general projects will continue to grow and be showcased at the County Fair.

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“It was rewarding to watch the Ken Wangen family kids grow up through the 4-H program, said Amy Wadding, Freeborn County 4-H Extension educator. “They were active in livestock and general project work. They were active in their local club. Staying connected through the friendships made gives us an opportunity to continue the important work of youth development. Helping more youth to be able to experience positive youth development is an excellent opportunity for all youth in Freeborn County.” 

She said the Wangen family values agriculture and youth development and the county’s 4-H program is now able to make additional impacts.  She thanked Wangen for the opportunity. 

In 2022, Bayer Fund revamped America’s Farmers Grow Communities program, making it easier for farmers across the country to find and fund the organizations and institutions that keep their communities thriving. This included doubling the individual donations to $5,000, up from $2,500 in previous years to provide a greater impact to local rural communities. 

For more than a decade, Grow Communities has partnered with farmers to direct funds to programs and organizations that contribute to their communities’ health and vibrancy, such as food banks, schools and youth agriculture programs. Since the America’s Farmers programs began in 2010, the initiatives have awarded nearly $65 million to such programs.

“Each year we hear from several nonprofit and school leaders, as well as farmers, about the ways Grow Communities has made a difference,” said Al Mitchell, Bayer Fund president. “Bayer Fund is proud to work side-by-side with farmers to identify local nonprofit organizations and schools that are improving rural communities in the areas of health and wellness, food and nutrition, and STEM and ag education.”

Farmers could enroll for the opportunity to direct a 2023 Grow Communities donation starting on Aug. 1. To learn more about the enrollment process and how America’s Farmers programs are making an impact, visit