An area farmer recently won a pair of $2,500 awards for local organizations in a contest sponsored by Monsanto.
Gordon Vonqualen, of Gardner, was chosen as winner in the America’s Farmers Grow Communities contest and donated the checks to the Grundy County Farm Bureau Foundation and the Community Foundation of Grundy County.
The contest, sponsored by the Monsanto fund, gives a $2,500 check to a farmer from each eligible county in 39 states to donate to the local nonprofit organization of their choice.
In counties that have been declared disaster areas due to drought, such as Grundy, Monsanto awarded two donations to each farmer.
Vonqualen, a fourth generation farmer, said he was surprised to learn he had won.
“I can’t remember having won anything before,” he said. “That it’s for someone else is a great feeling.”
Vonqualen said he chose the two organizations because of the work they do for the county.
Steve Kodat, president of the Grundy County Farm Bureau, said the money means a lot and will help fund scholarships.
“It’s really great for our farmers,” Kodat said. “It’s nice to see that people appreciate what we do.”
Julie Buck, executive director of the Community Foundation of Grundy County, said the money they received will go toward educational and training programs.
The foundation gives grants to farmers to attend training seminars out of county, as well as brings guest speakers to the county for events, Buck said.
“Being an agricultural county, we want to make sure we are serving the agricultural community,” she said.
Tom Tesdal, vice president of the Community Foundation, added that the money will enable the organization to provide leadership with other programs.
“It feels great,” he said of the donation. “I appreciate [Vonqualen] and his generosity.”