Larry Buysse of Tracy was recently selected as the Lyon County winner in America's Farmers Grow Communities contest sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, providing him with the opportunity to give a donation to his favorite local nonprofit organization.
Because of the worst drought in 50 years, the $2,500 donation was doubled for more than 1,000 of the 1,271 Grow Communities counties. Since Lyon Country was declared a disaster area by the United States Department of Agriculture, Buysse was given the opportunity to place two $2,500 donations.
"It's kind of a long shot," Buysse said. "You put your name in and never expect to hear that you win. But it was very nice."
Buysse chose to donate to two local organizations that he respects: St. Mary's Catholic School and Tracy Ambulance Service.
"Our children went all the way through school at St. Mary's, and we had a granddaughter go through the school," he said. "I went to Marshall Central Catholic High School when I was growing up, so I believe in Catholic education.
"Just from a distance, I know there are very good people involved with the Tracy Ambulance. They do a good job. So for those two reasons, it was very easy to pick them out."
Last year, Dane Meyer was the Lyon County winner and chose to donate $2,500 to the Cottonwood Ambulance Service. In 2011, winner Kenneth Weedman selected Tracy FFA as the donation benefactor.
This year, the Monsanto Fund will invest more than $5 million in rural America through Grow Communities, which includes double donations for counties suffering from the historic drought. America's Farmers Grow Communities highlights the important contributions farmers make every day to society and helps them positively impact their communities. The program is part of the Monsanto Fund's overall effort to support rural America.
While he's glad to have won, Buysse was quick to note that the program exists because of many others involved.
"Anybody who buys seeds from Monsanto is donating to the Monsanto benefit," Buysse said. "All the farmers in Lyon County are part of this. I'm hoping the people who are on the receiving end understand that, too. It's from all the farmers in Lyon County."
At 2 p.m. on Friday, Buysse and a Monsanto representative will participate in a check presentation ceremony at St. Mary's Catholic School in Tracy. Though unexpected, Buysse said he appreciates that two organizations are benefiting.
"It's nice to help out two groups instead of one," he said. "It just keeps the community going even more."