“This program would not be possible without the generous support of our donor ranchers and we are very grateful to them.”

Bill Pelton, Founder and Former Merit Heifer Chairman

Each year the NILE selects 25 recipients for the Merit Heifer Program and match them up with donors from across the region.

The NILE Merit Heifer program is a “live animal” scholarship that strives to help youth get a start in the beef cattle business by awarding heifer calves to participants chosen based on merit, future goals, and ability to care for the animal. Any youth ages 12-16, who are a 4-H or FFA member, may apply. Applicants are not limited to Montana residents.

During the program duration, participants are responsible for raising the heifer, arranging for her to be bred, completing the record keeping procedure and bringing the animal back one year later as a bred replacement heifer for exhibit at the NILE Stock Show in October.

The NILE Merit Heifer Selection Committee is requests:

  • filled out application
  • character references
  • written essay
  • a 3-5 minute YouTube video.

The video should include, but is not limited to: an introduction, facility tour, current 4-H/FFA projects, goals and objectives for the Merit Heifer, and the video must be voiced by the applicant.

Applications and YouTube video must be received no later than 5 p.m. June 30th each year. An application is available online at www.thenile.org or by calling the NILE office. In addition to applications from eligible kids, the NILE is also accepting information from ranches wishing to donate a heifer calf.

For more information regarding the NILE Merit Heifer Program, please email Shelby at shelby@thenile.org or call the NILE Office at (406) 256-2495.