Area farmer directs $2,500 donation to the Stockbridge Area Educational Foundation

by Jennifer Hammerberg

Local farmer Ben Topping recently directed a $2,500 America’s Farmers Grow Communities donation to the Stockbridge Area Educational Foundation. The donation is sponsored by the Bayer Fund.

Ben Topping is a fourth-generation farmer who farms alongside his father and brother. The Topping families operate Hickory Ridge Farms, located between Stockbridge and Gregory.

“The Topping family has been a part of the SAEF from the very beginning,” said Jennifer M. Hammerberg, SAEF president. “Ben’s father was a founding member.”

Ben Topping said his family was excited to be able to direct the donation to the SAEF.

“(We) hope it can be used to further our communities’ roots in agriculture by providing an opportunity for our youth to see an agricultural-related field as a career path,” Topping said.

The SAEF will use the money for education and educational opportunities for residents, with a special emphasis on agriculture and/or farming.

“We are very grateful to be chosen, this year especially. Due to COVID-19, we were forced to cancel our annual fundraising event just one week before it was scheduled,” said Jennifer M. Hammerberg, SAEF president. “Generous donations and grants like this will allow us to continue to support our educators during this economically difficult time.”

Hammerberg said schools must manage a completely new situation and “we anticipate unprecedented financial need in our district this year.”

“Local businesses,who are tremendously supportive of SAEF, are also under financial strain,” she continued. “Receiving donations from outside our town is a tremendous boost to our spirits as well as our foundation. Thank you!”

Since 2010, the America’s Farmers programs have awarded more than $57 million to nonprofits, aspiring ag students and public schools across rural America.

“Farmers truly understand the needs of their communities and where the opportunities to strengthen them exist. We partner with them to identify the nonprofit organizations that benefit from Grow Communities donations,” said Al Mitchell, Bayer Fund president. “Each donation shines a light on the organizations that are making a positive difference in rural communities across the country.”

The America’s Farmers Grow Communities 2021 program kicked off on Aug. 1. Farmers may enroll for a chance to direct a donation to a local eligible nonprofit of their choice.

About America’s Farmers

America’s Farmers, sponsored by Bayer Fund, is focused on strengthening rural America through three community outreach programs that partner with farmers to make an impact in communities where farmers live and work. The programs have given more than $57 million to rural America since 2010 and include Grow Communities, Grow Rural Education and Grow Ag Leaders.

To learn more, visit America’s Farmers at

About the Bayer Fund

Bayer Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where Bayer customers and employees live and work. It provides funding for food and nutrition, education and community development projects.

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