More than $11,200 was raised for scholarships Thursday, Jan. 30, during the Wallowa County Stockgrowers fundraiser dinner at the Cloverleaf Hall in Enterprise.
The dinner was put on by the Wallowa County Ag Resource Foundation, the nonprofit 501 (3)© arm of the stockgrowers, aimed at promoting the next generation of cattle producers.
“That’s what the whole night was about,” said John Williams, who heads the heifer scholarship. “It’s about getting kids educated and hoping they’ll stay in agriculture.”
Williams, a retired Oregon State University Agriculture Extension agent, said Thursday’s fundraiser brought in about $2,500 more than in 2019.
Randy Garner, of Appleflat Catering, and his assistants prepared the prime rib dinner and served 139 plates, he said.
In addition to the dinner, a live auction added to the scholarship money, as did bidding on desserts donated for the event.
This year’s recipients shared $7,500 in scholarships. They are:
• Teagan Miller, of Wallowa, received $1,000 to study marine biology with an emphasis on marine farming and genetic engineering at the University of Montana Western in Dillion, Mont. The sophomore has made the dean’s list every term, works three jobs and has her own herd of cattle.
• Michael Diggins, of Wallowa, received $1,500 to study range and agribusiness at Sheridan College in Sheridan, Wyo. The freshman has worked for several ranches and wants to go into ranch management.
• Morgan Farney, of Joseph, received $2,500 and is studying biology with an emphasis in veterinary science at Washington State University’s Tri-Cities campus. The junior hopes to become a large-animal vet.
• Kacey Melville, of Joseph, received $2,500 and is majoring in crop/soil sciences with a business minor at Eastern Oregon University. The junior, who has farmed for herself for two years, also works for OSU Extension as a student worker in the Agronomy Department.
Although the scholarship amounts aren’t set in stone, the stockgrowers have built a fund they can draw upon to ensure some consistency.
“Over the years, we’ve built a cushion – a pool to dip into so everybody qualified can get a scholarship,” said Caleb Howard, who heads the stockgrowers’ scholarship committee.
Addressing the diners was Alona Yost, a sophomore at Enterprise High School and member of the EHS FFA Chapter. She received the bred heifer scholarship in December. In addition to thanking the group for the scholarship, Yost told of her plans to break it, raise it and bring it and its calf for auction at the Wallowa County Fair in August.
The bred heifer scholarship provides more than $1,000 to purchase the heifer, Williams said. Also, the Wallowa County Hay Growers Association provides hay to get the animal through the first winter, he said.
The scholarship, which goes to students in seventh through ninth grades, is aimed at encouraging kids to pursue a life in agriculture.
“That way they can grow their own” heifer and calf, he said. “We’re trying to do as much as we can for the kids.”
Members of the Wallowa High School FFA Chapter were on hand “to help in any way we can,” one girl said.
While those attending the dinner were enjoying both the meal and the socializing, it was never far from their thoughts that they were there to support up and coming ranchers, Williams said.
“We want to thank everybody for their support,” he said. “It was fantastic.”