As a fifth generation farmer, rancher and Manning, ND native, Iris Dukart grew up with a love for agriculture. Her family’s operation includes red and black angus cattle alongside commercial cattle as well as crops; but it wasn’t always that way. For eleven years her parents raised Holstein cows, so Dukart grew up in the dairy barn. Her love for agriculture didn’t stop there. She also grew up being very involved in 4-H and FFA. “It was really a special time for me and allowed me to develop my love for agriculture that I have today,” says Dukart.
In 2013, as a seventh grader, Dukart applied for her first loan. Dukart received this interest free (0% APR) loan from Dakota Community Bank & Trust’s (DCB&T) annual Foundation Female Program. The goal of this bank-wide program is to assist North Dakota area youth who are interested in the beef industry in establishing their own cattle herd.
“As I grew up, I continued to have a passion for agriculture and applied for the Dakota Community Bank & Trust Foundation Female Program and was the very first recipient. I received an interest-free loan to buy five registered Red Angus heifers in 2013 and have grown my herd to what it is today,” recalls Dukart. She went on to say that there have been many positive impacts that the Foundation Female Program has had on her since receiving the initial interest free loan. Knowing that not many 7th graders have a loan, she notes that it taught her financial responsibility, experience of raising her own herd, made her more aware of financial decisions, and taught her positive basic life skills.
Her brother, Ian Dukart, also a past recipient of DCB&T’s Foundation Female Program, runs his cattle alongside hers and their entire family’s herd.
Now, as a full beef operation since 2015, Dukart still keeps female replacements. For the past six years, she organizes all her own breeding and sells any bulls in her family’s annual bull sale each December. “I am so thankful for the way that I grew up and the experiences that I had because I know that shaped me into the individual that I am today and that also opened a lot of doors for my future. 4-H and FFA were big influences in a lot of my successes in high school. All of that has really helped to continue to grow my cattle operation,” states Dukart.
Currently as a freshmen at North Dakota State University, Dukart is studying agricultural education. She states that through DCB&T’s Foundation Female Program, she now knows that after college, if she would want to return to the family’s operation, she would be ready and prepared to continue to build her beef operation.
“The Dakota Community Bank & Trust Foundation Female Program is an amazing opportunity for youth in North Dakota. I would really encourage anyone who wants to continue to be involved in the beef industry to consider applying for this award because it’s a really great opportunity to have the advising of your older adults and you can have some stability when you are starting out. To have that advising role with it, it is really influential, especially if you want to continue this in your future. That point alone has really helped me develop my operation. To have the background and support from community individuals as well as the whole Dakota Community Bank & Trust family has been really influential,” closes Dukart.
DCB&T’s Foundation Female Program opens each year in August and closes in November. For more information about the program, please contact your local DCB&T or revisit our website each August.
Written by Lindsey Hefta, Marketing Director