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Grant to Advance Opportunities in Horsemanship and Agriculture Education Announced

June 3, 2020

Rural youth leadership and innovative rural development opportunities in southwestern Montana will take a major leap forward thanks to a generous “Seeds of Stewardship” grant awarded to the University of Montana Western.  This $10,000 grant was made possible by the CHS Foundation and Rocky Mountain Supply, Incorporated. 

In an event recently held on the UMW campus, Rocky Mountain Supply CEO, Brad Gjermo and CHS Board Capital and Foundation Finance and Investment committee member Ed Malesich, formally presented the award to UMW Chancellor Beth Weatherby, who was joined by Montana Center for Horsemanship Education Director, Eric Hoffmann.

RMS CEO Brad Gjermo, in providing this special grant to UMW, which will help the Montana Center for Horsemanship continue expansion of classrooms and a veterinary research laboratory, said “Rocky Mountain Supply is thrilled to be able to contribute and support the growth of the Montana Center for Horsemanship through the University of Montana Western Foundation.  This provides RMS the opportunity to continue to invest in the growth of young people that have an interest in pursuing a career in agriculture.”

UMW Chancellor Beth Weatherby added “The University of Montana Western values our partnerships and the funding provided by CHS and RMS for this project not only represents strong partnership support in educating our Ag-minded youth, but it also promotes innovative opportunities for the University and MCH.”

“Education,” says MCH president William Kriegel, “is central to our mission.  This grant will further help us to provide the resources and facilities that advance learning opportunities for rural youth and economic development for our rural community.  We are very grateful for these dynamic partnerships.”

The Montana Center for Horsemanship, one of the nation’s leading equine education centers and a partner with the University in Natural Horsemanship and Farm and Ranch educational programming, has been in a significant expansion effort.  Plans have called for building new classrooms, a state-of-the-art veterinary research laboratory and conference space to accommodate growing demand by students and to develop a wide range of new equine education programs.

The Seeds of Stewardship grant, awarded to UMW, will help the University and the Montana Center for Horsemanship continue these efforts. The grant will expand educational opportunities for rural youth and rural communities in southwestern Montana and regionally.

The University of Montana Western has a strong and growing partnership with the Montana Center for Horsemanship and currently offers the only Bachelor of Science in Natural Horsemanship degree in the nation.  Because of this partnership, MCH and UMW can provide real-world, experiential learning opportunities for students. MCH is also where Equine Studies students conduct most coursework and where hands-on learning experiences with horses are provided in a rural, agricultural setting.  MCH will also be headquarters to a new Farm and Ranch Operations Program of UMW in the coming academic year.

Through this new expansion effort, MCH is becoming a renowned education center that will be able to offer diverse programs including national conferences, symposiums, research and community-driven events while building capacity to host a wide range of annual events. The Center’s vision is to attract students from all walks of life, horsemanship, veterinary, and research scholars, scientists, professionals and amateurs, and all those who wish to learn about horses, agriculture, livestock management and Beaverhead County. The collaborative efforts of UMW and MCH seek to further the mission of this partnership and provide support for the local community.   The expansion of the Montana Center is an opportunity to elevate and enhance educational and leadership opportunities and facilitate the education of Ag Leaders of tomorrow. Current expansion efforts will also generate new economic opportunities for rural southwestern Montana and the broader region.

The Montana Center for Horsemanship recently received a pledge of a quarter of a million dollars to begin development of state-of-the-art classrooms, research/laboratory space, expanded equine and livestock housing, a conference center, dining areas, and other facilities. The pledge required matching funds in whole or in part and this “Seeds of Stewardship” grant provided by the CHS Foundation and Rocky Mountain Supply is a significant commitment to the future of rural youth leadership and rural development.

The Montana Western Foundation and the Montana Center for Horsemanship are registered 501 (c)(3) organizations. The UMW Foundation was established in 1978 and the Montana Center for Horsemanship was established in 2011.

To learn more, please contact the Montana Center for Horsemanship at 406.925.3270 or email [email protected]