Daines Honors Montanan of the Month for May: Lori Hoppe of Park County

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines recognized Lori Hoppe of Park County for her dedication to fostering excellence in agricultural education and across Park County. 

Through his “Montanan of the Month” initiative, each month Daines highlights a Montanan by submitting a statement of recognition in the recipient’s honor into the official Congressional Record, the document that reflects the official proceedings of Congress.

Daines welcomes anyone to nominate fellow Montanans for Daines’ “Montanan of the Month” program by calling Daines’ office at 202-224-2651 or by filling out the contact form on Daines’ website: HERE.

The following is the tribute Daines submitted to the Congressional Record to honor Lori Hoppe:


Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, today I have the distinct honor of recognizing Lori Hoppe of Park County for her dedication to fostering excellence in agricultural education and across Park County. 

In 2013, Lori saw an opportunity to bring agricultural education to her hometown of Gardiner, a quaint gateway community to Yellowstone National Park with a population of 800 people. She established Gardiner High School’s first agriculture program and FFA chapter, which today proudly boasts a near 50 percent student body participation rate. The Gardiner FFA Chapter has consistently built a name for themselves as being fierce competitors – they are the first agricultural sales career development event team to not only champion the district contest, but also to qualify for the national convention.

As Gardiner FFA prepared for the national competition, their means of getting there was threatened when historic flooding impacted Park County. With a state of emergency declared and access to Yellowstone National Park halted, the lack of tourists required the cancellation of the local rodeo, with sales from the concession stand being the primary means of funding for Gardiner FFA’s trip to the National FFA Convention and Expo. 

Lori knew they needed to come up with a new fundraising idea if they wanted to compete at nationals. During the school year, the students built a utility trailer that they decided to try and sell at the Park County Fair. The community rallied behind the students and helped them raise more than five times their goal. The Gardiner FFA Chapter went on to make their community proud, earning a seventh place team finish, and one student placing third individually. 

Now reaching her 10th year as an educator, Lori is receiving statewide recognition from the Montana Association of Agricultural Educators (MAAE) for being among the best ag instructors in the Treasure State. Her application will be forwarded on to the regional level where she will be evaluated alongside winners from other states. I am confident Lori will represent Montana well!

It is my distinct honor to recognize Lori Hoppe for her commitment to promoting agricultural education in Park County and throughout the Treasure State. The future of Montana agriculture is better off because of her tireless work. Thank you, Lori. You make Montana proud!