Leave a Legacy
Our scholarship programs allow our students to continue their personal growth and education while developing an educated workforce for Montana and beyond. There are three areas we support through scholarships:
- FFA Scholarships – Scholarships help our FFA students in all sectors of business – from nursing or engineering to Ag and mechanics – and provide opportunities for our students and their communities. Our scholarship program provides funding for students to attain a technical or higher education degree and create an educated, vibrant workforce of FFA Alumni within Montana.
- State Officer Fund – Partial tuition scholarships for our State Officers during their year of service to attend Montana State University Bozeman, promoting team collaboration and commitment by having all 8 officers in one location for a year.
- Leadership Development Scholarships – Skills training needed for our future entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Montana FFA Foundation Scholarships
Montana FFA Foundation Leave a Legacy Scholarship
The Leave a Legacy Scholarship is a Montana FFA Foundation scholarship awarded to deserving FFA members statewide. These scholarships are available to any FFA member who wished to pursue a post-secondary education or trade/technical school. The Scholarships are funded by the generous supporters of the Montana FFA Foundation. $500 for each scholarship awarded.
AMTOPP FFA Scholarship
The Association of Montana Turf, Ornamental & Pest Professionals (AMTOPP) was founded in 1990. AMTOPP promotes high standards and ethics within the turf, ornamental and application pesticide industry. AMTOPP provides professional greens industry education and training for our members and the Montana community. AMTOPP works with legislative and regulatory bodies on matters concerning the turf, ornamental and pesticide application industry.
The Association of Montana Turf, Ornamental, and Pest Professionals will award a $500 scholarship annually through Montana FFA.
The Montana Agriculture Business Association’s purpose is to encourage the proper use of all pesticides, plant food, seeds and other agricultural products within the State of Montana and to promote educational programs including the sponsoring of an annual meeting to bring together those who are associated with the use of pesticides, plant food, seeds and other agricultural products.
The mission of the Montana Grain Elevator Association is to provide a forum for all facets of the Montana Grain Industry to discuss common issues and when appropriate take action. The Association provides networking opportunities for professionals in the grain industry and serves as a resource for members and others to the grain industry. In 2012, the MABA/MGEA Association committed to working with the FFA Foundation on a scholarship Endowment for FFA members looking to further their studies in an agricultural related field. This scholarship endowment will allow students for generations to further their studies thanks to the support of the MABA/MGEA members and their commitment to furthering agriculture in the State of Montana. $500 for each scholarship awarded.
Montana Land Reliance
The Montana Land Reliance was founded in 1978 by Barb Rusmore and Christine Torgrimson. Its original mission was to establish a renewable and equitable agricultural way of life in Montana. It completed its first easement on 321 acres in the Blackfoot Valley. Since it has conserved over 958,000 acres in over 820 voluntary easement agreements across the state of Montana. The organization and its employees have also been instrumental in policy decisions regarding private land conservation, and have a meaningful presence in the national land conservation community. The Montana Land Reliance (MLR) partners with private landowners to permanently protect agricultural lands, fish and wildlife habitat, and open space. $500 for each scholarship awarded.
Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply is a privately-owned chain of 17 retail stores across four states. The Bozeman-based company, founded by John Murdoch in 1994, is committed to offering lots of quality merchandise, exceptional service and fair prices to its customers and to always making them feel welcome. This scholarship was created to recognize and celebrate the agricultural community and to assist a promising young individual in his/her pursuit of a college education. $500 for each scholarship awarded.
Dr. Max L. Amberson Ag Education Scholarship
Devoting his life’s work to agricultural and vocational education, and youth leadership development, Dr. Max Amberson is an icon in the Montana Ag Education community.
Growing up with a farming and ranching background in the Gallatin Valley, Max graduated from Montana State College in 1955 and taught Ag Education and was an FFA advisor for many years. Expanding his teaching roles with both industry and state government work experiences, Max went on to complete his Master’s Degree in Ag Education at the University of Minnesota, and in 1967, was awarded the prestigious John Deere National Fellowship to pursue his doctorate degree in Ag Education at The Ohio State University’s National Center for Vocational Education. Receiving his Ph.D. in Ag Education in 1968, Max returned to Montana State University and was named Department Head – Agriculture and Extension Education, College of Agriculture. Max served as Acting Dean – Montana State University College of Agriculture and Director – Montana Agricultural Experiment Stations prior to his retirement in 1993.
Max has been involved in agriculture and FFA his entire life and is one of the true pioneer’s in the advancement of Ag Education in Montana schools and a passionate advocate for the FFA’s mission of developing future Ag leaders for Montana. In honor of Max’s legacy within the Ag community, and Montana State University’s College of Agriculture, this scholarship is awarded to a freshman or sophomore student pursuing an Ag Education degree. $500 for each scholarship awarded.
Stockman Bank Next Gen Scholarship
Stockman Bank’s roots run deep. In 1953 Wm. Nefsy purchased the controlling interest in the Miles City Bank. His vision was to create a banking organization to serve the needs of the entire community. Particularly important in his vision was the need to serve agricultural producers and local businesspeople. While various trends in the banking industry have come and gone over the years, Mr. Nefsy always focused on serving the financial needs of these important members of our community. This vision and focus on service continue today.
Stockman Bank is also the longest-running partner with the Montana FFA Foundation. In an effort to expand the FFA/Stockman Bank partnership and support future agriculturalists, Stockman Bank gifted a $25,000 endowed donation to create the Stockman Bank Next Gen Scholarship for Montana FFA students. This scholarship is awarded to two deserving Montana FFA students each year to support them in their academic endeavors. Requirements for the scholarship can be found on the FFA scholarship application. $500 for each scholarship awarded.
Vernon Dahlstrom Memorial Agriculture Scholarship
Vernon Dahlstrom was a highly respected agricultural education instructor. This scholarship was created in his honor after his passing to assist students in the pursuit of a career in agriculture. The award is funded by an endowment provided by the family and friends of Vernon Dahlstrom and administered through the Montana FFA Foundation. $500 for each scholarship awarded.
Lars Ronning Memorial Scholarship
Larry “Lars” Ronning was raised on a farm east of Froid, MT. Since the Froid School did not offer Agricultural Education, Lars did not have the opportunity to experience the National FFA Organization. His love and talent for mathematics drove him to college to become a Civil Engineer. Sadly, during his freshman year, his father passed away. Being the oldest son, Lars felt he should return home to run the family farm for his mother.
In 2004, he married his wife, Ann Newhouse, who was the Agricultural Education teacher and FFA Advisor in Bainville, at the time. Through her, he was able to experience the FFA. Lars eventually left farming and turned to a career in construction. He and his co-workers built over a dozen houses in northeast Montana and northwest North Dakota before he was killed while constructing a two-story home in Sidney on the first day of fall in 2007.
This $500.00 scholarship was developed in his honor to go to a graduating senior who will be seeking an agricultural or vocational degree at a university or vocational post-secondary school. Scholarship applicants must be residing in the Big Muddy District to be considered.
Holt Family, John Bliss Scholarship
National FFA Convention
The Holt Family of Lolo, Montana, annually provides a scholarship in recognition of John Bliss (August 14, 1955- June 14, 1980) and is a long time supporter of the Montana FFA and of Western Montana. The Holt boys: Bret, Pat & Roger were all FFA members and classmates of John. This award has been sponsored by the Holt Family since 1981 in memory of John.
John Bliss was born on August 14, 1955, in Miles City, raised on a ranch near Sand Springs, and attended rural schools in Eastern Montana. He attended Sentinel High School in Missoula and was an active member of the Missoula FFA Chapter all four years. He held the office of Vice President and various committee chairmanships; was a member of the chapter livestock judging team as well as the district and state contest teams; was a delegate to the Washington Leadership Conference and the National FFA Convention in Kansas City, MO.
The chapter could always depend on John to be present and actively working to promote the success of all chapter endeavors. His willing attitude and sense of humor were just two of his personal traits which influenced his fellow members. He was awarded the Chapter “Workhorse” Award for his active participation in various projects and culminated his FFA membership when he received the State Farmer Award in 1973. After his graduation, he moved back to the family ranch in Eastern Montana where he and his brother operated a large wheat and livestock operation.
John was an aviation enthusiast; a charter member and director of the Ag Pilots Association; held commercial and multi-engine pilot ratings; was a certified Ag Pilot and operated his own crop spraying business along with the ranching operation. John lost his life due to a malfunction of his airplane on June 14, 1980, while making a return flight to the ranch after a spraying job.
The memory of John Bliss will live on through the recipients of this award who will strive to work for the betterment of themselves, their chapter, their state, and their nation.
Irene Andres Memorial Award
Irene Andres (1942-1999) was a heartfelt supporter of the FFA. She was the mother of ten children: eight of whom received the State Degree and six served as State FFA Officers. She was awarded the Honorary State Degree and the Chapter Eagle Award. She was an active member of the Missoula FFA Alumni for twenty years and “mothered” the students as she knew best. She was involved in most of the chapter activities and chaperoned many events. Her favorite was the National FFA Convention. She attended many times and always viewed it as her annual dose of inspiration. It is in her honor that the Andres Family will award a deserving member the opportunity to experience the National Convention by providing a $200 stipend.
Montana FFA Alumni Leadership Camp (ALC) Scholarships
The Pat Cavey and Brad King Alumni Leadership Camp Scholarships provide up to five (5) $100 scholarships for active Montana FFA Association members to attend the statewide leadership camp, held annually in Highwood, Montana. The Montana FFA Foundation partners with the Alumni to provide up to four (4) $100 scholarships for active Montana FFA Association members to attend the annual FFA Alumni Leadership Camp.
Pat Cavey and Dr. Brad King were members of the very first Alumni Leadership Camp planning committee and staff in 1983. Two of Pat’s sons were very active in FFA, and served as State Presidents, Brian (1981-1982) and Scott (1982-1983). Brad was a state officer (1982-1983), an agricultural education teacher in Stevensville (1986-1998), and served as the OPI Agricultural Education Specialist (1998 – 2013).
Washington Leadership Conference (WLC) Scholarships
These scholarships are provided as encouragement and financial assistance to seven (7) active Montana FFA Association members wishing to gain leadership training by attending the Washington Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. The WLC scholarships are co-sponsored by the Montana FFA Alumni and the Montana FFA Foundation.
Dr. Van Shelhamer Memorial Scholarship
In honor of the legacy left behind by her husband, Van, Connie Shelhamer is offering an annual $750 scholarship to a Montana State FFA Officer.
Van was involved in Agricultural Education and the FFA his entire life. He graduated from Clyde Park (now Shields Valley) high school. After securing his AgEd Degree from Montana State, Van taught in Conrad from 1967-1978 and then was hired as an Agricultural Education professor at MSU. He earned his Master’s Degree from MSU (1979) and his doctorate from Colorado State University (1982). He had an outstanding career in the AgEd Department at MSU, retiring in 2003. Van not only served the AgEd students at MSU but was a pioneer in providing in-service training for high school AgEd teachers. He loved technology, training teachers about computers when they first arrived on the scene in the early 1980’s.
Among other things he was proficient at, Van found his true passion in the GPS/GIS arena. He taught teachers how to use a GPS receiver and how to map the data using GIS software. He became a national leader in this technology and founded his own company, GeoEssentials.
Van and two others started the State FFA Leadership Team for Agricultural Education in 1996 to provide the State FFA Association the needed leadership for a year after Leonard Lombardi retired. His love for State FFA officers grew from this experience followed by years of teaching them leadership skills through his classes at Montana State.
After his retirement from MSU, Van took over management of Connie’s family farm Southeast of Livingston. When he planted his Willow Creek winter wheat all of the neighbors thought he was crazy. However the next summer when it was ready to harvest, as hay, they were all waiting in line to buy it. It was the best crop in the area for two summers.
Van, unfortunately, passed away as the result of an accident at the farm in April 2013.
He was truly dedicated to agriculture and the Ag Ed profession and the Montana FFA Association.
Sam Cornthwaite Memorial Scholarship
The Sam Cornthwaite Memorial Scholarship is in memory of Sam Cornthwaite. Sam was a dedicated and extremely active member of the Shields Valley FFA Chapter in Clyde Park. Sam’s enjoyment came from participating in career development events, but his passion was helping develop leadership skills of those around him. Sam served as the State FFA Treasurer in 2008-09, was a director for the Montana FFA Alumni from 2011-13, was the key player in the development and implementation of the Montana Leadership and Montana Advanced Leadership Conferences. But Sam did not stop there and was instrumental in the development of the GOLD Conference for senior members. While facilitating many of these conferences, Sam inspired members with his dedication to others, and enthusiasm. Sam died tragically while living in China. He was developing a program for orphans to become involved in career-based opportunities.
Two scholarships will be awarded in memory of Sam, one to assist an all-around FFA member with $250 to attend Washington Leadership Conference in Washington D.C., and one to help a younger member participate in the Alumni Leadership Camp in Highwood, MT with a $100 scholarship.
Montana FFA Partner Scholarships
Amanda Neal Scholarship
This scholarship is open to all graduating high school FFA member seniors seeking an agricultural degree. Multiple family members may submit individual applications for a scholarship. One individual $1,000 scholarship will be presented to the school of the recipients’ choice. To receive the award you must have proof of acceptance sent to our office (Neal Ranch) or include with the application. Consideration will be given to scholastic achievement and financial need. Click here for the Amanda Neal Scholarship Application