Francis and Mary Jirak of rural Tampa received a 2019 America’s Farmers Grow Communities grant of $2,500 from nonprofit Bayer Fund for Tampa Community Foundation.
The couple made the presentation Thursday to foundation president David Mueller. The money will be used to pay for shelving in Paul Gooding Memorial Library in Tampa.
“The money was available, so why not go for it,” Francis Jirak said.
“It’s awesome to receive this donation,” Mueller said. “That’s a big part of what keeps this community going.”
Mary Jirak said the library has been a great asset to the community.
“It’s a quiet place to spend time with friends,” she said.
It is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. every weekday and is used by a broad spectrum of people, from children to elderly who don’t have to drive miles to find books to read.
The Jiraks grow soybeans and wheat and have a 20-head cowherd.
“We couldn’t think of a better place to put the money,” Francis said.
A few years ago, the Jiraks received a similar grant for Centre FFA. Other farmers in the county also have received the grant.
Formerly Monsanto Fund, the Bayer Fund is in its 10th year.
“Farmers are one of America’s best resources, which is why Grow Communities partners with them to direct donations to the organizations they are passionate about and that make a positive impact and a better life in communities,” said Al Mitchell, vice president of corporate engagement.
Applications for 2020 may be submitted between Aug. 1 and Nov. 1. To be eligible, a farmer must be at least 21 years old and be actively engaged in farming at least 250 acres of land.
Program rules are available at americasfarmers.com.