RONAN — There’s a group of ranchers in Ronan that have 15 heifers they don’t need. The animals are part of a new scholarship program, for kids in 4-H and FFA clubs.
The Western Montana Stockmen's Association, which represents the cattle industry in six western counties and Vice President Paul Guenzler says the organization’s goal is to promote the beef industry and help educate young people.
"It really educates them how the industry goes," said Guenzler. "And how good and bad it can be at times."
Three years ago, the group started a scholarship program to award a heifer to kids in 4-H and FFA clubs. The first year WMSA gave away one heifer, last year it was up to eight. This year, they’re giving away 15 heifers.
"They’ll learn a lot through the program of what it costs to raise heifer the ups and downs of the markets and the challenges of getting her bred and turned her into a cow. " said Guenzler.
All kids need to do is put in an application about their goals and why they are interested. They will also team up with mentors to help them vaccinate and feed the cows.
Nick Courville says the heifers were donated or bought by the WMSA.
"To... help set the kids up for success, we want the mentors to be someone that's in the cattle industry that's able to help them and maybe help fix it -- or know someone to call -- to get the heifers through whatever hardship they might be going through,” Courville said.
Organizers say they haven’t received any applications this year – and the deadline to apply is Dec. 16. The applications can be found here, and are open to kids ages 10 through 16.