Agriculture

New Agriculture Scholarship Offered in Honor of the Late Harold Tutvedt

Seniors at Flathead and Glacier high schools can apply for funding to attend Montana State University College of Agriculture

By Myers Reece
A tractor collects snow at the H.E. Robinson Vocational Agricultural Center in Kalispell on Feb. 7, 2020. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Seniors at Glacier and Flathead high schools can now apply for a new agricultural college education scholarship named after the late Harold Tutvedt, a well-known West Valley farmer who passed away in 2018.

The $2,000 scholarship will be awarded to a senior who intends to pursue a degree at Montana State University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, offering students yet another opportunity in a school district already reputed for its robust agricultural curriculum through the H.E. Robinson Agricultural Education Center.

The application deadline for the Harold Tutvedt Memorial Scholarship is March 10. Seniors at either Kalispell high school can apply by contacting their respective college and career center.

“It’s huge,” Brian Bay, a teacher at the Agricultural Education Center in Kalispell, said. “A scholarship of this size directly for a student going to Montana State University is significant. It will make a huge difference for whoever gets it.”

“The MSU College of Ag is known nationally,” he added, “and there’s the history of the Tutvedts and the role they have played in our community and agriculture. It’s really neat.”

The ag center welcomes between 300 and 350 students each year, including 21 seniors this year who will be the target audience of the new scholarship, although a number of them have already committed to plans and schools other than MSU, Bay said.

The center opened its doors in 1978, but Flathead High School has had an agricultural program since 1917, while Future Farmers of America has been established in town since 1930 and high school students have farmed the land on which the ag center sits since the 1940s, including generations of Tutvedts who attended Kalispell public schools.

“Harold would have farmed this ground when he was a student,” Bay said.

Harold Tutvedt, the second child of Norwegian immigrants, was born in a leased farmhouse with no power or running water off Clark Drive in West Valley in 1929 and spent his entire life in agriculture, moving from “farming with horses to driving the big green auto steer combines that he loved so much,” according to his 2018 obituary. He attended Flathead High School and Montana State University.

Mike Kelly, director of the Flathead High career center, said the Tutvedt family came up with the idea of an agricultural education scholarship following Harold’s death. Kelly, who helps kids devise their post-high school steps, notes that agricultural education has grown significantly over the years into areas including embryology, soil science, innovative concepts in animal husbandry and raising plants, and more.

“The field has broadened quite a bit to include many things other than the stereotype of what many think of farming, planting crops, raising cattle, dairy farming, riding a tractor,” he said. “There’s certainly all those components, but there are a lot of other things that go along with it.”

The scholarship comes as the ag center’s hundreds of high school students are newly enjoying updated facilities, funded by the passage of a school bond package in 2016. Bay called the renovations “terrific.”

“We’re so pleased with this place,” he said.

People interested in contributing to the scholarship fund can make donations to the Harold Tutvedt Memorial Scholarship C/O Blue Mountain Community Foundation, P.O. Box 603, Walla Walla, WA 99362.

For questions about the application process, contact Mike Kelly at (406) 751-3661 or kellymi@sd5.k12.mt.us.

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