MFU Foundation Awards Nearly $30k in Grants

MFU Foundation Awards Nearly $30k in Grants

Community projects focused on education and agriculture around the state recently received a boost from the Montana Farmers Union Foundation, which awarded nearly $30,000 in grants this month.

“MFU Foundation’s annual grant program focused on bringing educational opportunities to rural Montana has been a huge success. We had over thirty grant applications and the Foundation board did their best to get as many funded as possible. It’s inspiring to see the drive within communities to improve their food systems, build agricultural awareness, and include classroom focus on where our food comes from. We funded projects that include a female farmer-based documentary, greenhouses, children’s books, and supporting Montana’s Agrotourism industry, among many more,” Montana Farmers Union’s Chief of Staff Matt Rains said.

This marks the second year the MFU Foundation has awarded grants to projects that align with the Foundation’s mission to create new opportunities and contribute to the growth and enhancement of Montana agriculture and rural communities. Projects must include an educational component for youth and/or adults, with priority given to rural communities.

Last year, the Foundation awarded and leveraged more than $30,000 for six community projects.

“Our core mission resides in supporting the local farmer and rancher. The best way to accomplish this mission is to help those inspiring our children with agricultural classroom projects like school gardens or growing fresh vegetables for underserved communities. Whether it’s a teacher, farmer, community leader, or simply an individual with a great idea that needs some support to implement. We want them to have a simple avenue to receive some funds that take their idea and make it reality,” Rains said.

This year’s Foundation grant awards compliment Montana Farmers Union’s pillars of education, cooperation, and legislation, and Montana Farmers Union also awarded another $12,500, including $10,000 to the Western Agricultural Research Center’s buildings upgrade project.

WARC is one of seven Montana State Agricultural Experiment Stations and requested the funding to help upgrade buildings to be adequate for faculty, students and local farmers to continue the station’s work focused on horticulture, fruit and vegetable production, sustainable farming practices, small business skills and more.

Foundation grant recipients are:

  • $2,500 to Utterback School in Conrad for a free standing, self-water hydroponics unit to grow fruits, herbs and lettuces.
  • $2,500 to Anthony Pavkovich for “Women of the Dirt,” a short-form documentary that will humanize Montana’s meat industry by showing the risks, opportunities and rewards the state’s beef producers experience within the current system of agriculture.
  • $1,000 to Belt High School for the purchase of animal science 4-D anatomy models for livestock and companion animals and veterinary supplies to practice using proper veterinary techniques.
  • $7,500 to Havre Public Schools Education Foundation to add a greenhouse to enhance education for both the classroom learning as well as their FFA program. MFU and the MFU Foundation combined to fund this award.
  • $1,000 to Mission West Community Development Partners’ Mission Mountain Area Pedal to Plate farm-to-farm bike tour culminating in a locally sourced farm-to-table dinner, locally brewed beer, live music, and a farmers market.
  • $2,500 to Hamilton School District #3 F2S to revitalize the Daly Elementary school garden in Hamilton. 
  • $2,500 to Land to Hand Montana/Columbia Falls School District to support after school garden club programming.
  • $2,500 to Helena Flats School Garden to renovate a school, with the goal of incorporating land to hand learning for all students and making the garden an accessible place for all students to learn. 
  • $2,500 to Anderson School in Bozeman to provide materials for the school farm to table program by creating new garden spaces for grades k-8.  
  • $2,500 to Happy Ranch Wife Productions to purchase 750 books to take to schools for readings and then to give to children.
  • $4,500 to Vista Ridge Foundation to finish construction of a passive solar year-round greenhouse that will increase availability of locally grown produce in traditionally underserved areas.

“This grant program was built for longevity. MFU Foundation wants to receive grant requests for years to come and ensure our small entrepreneurs, teachers, or local ranchers and farmers have a way to complete creative projects for their communities,” Rains said. “We love the energy in these grants and hope that increases year over year.”

To learn more about the Montana Farmers Union Foundation, visit


2023 Montana Farmers Union Annual Convention

October 27, 2023 - October 28, 2023
Heritage Inn, Great Falls MT