Application deadline Oct. 25, winners picked in November | TSLN.com

Application deadline Oct. 25, winners picked in November

Dakota Community Bank & Trust is seeking youth in the Bowman and Dickinson, N.D., communities to apply for their new "Foundation Female Program." The goal of the program is to help young producers in the area purchase bred heifers. The bank managers hope this project will help youngsters get started in the ranching business.

Jason Frey, Dakota Community Bank & Trust loan officer, explains the program offerings and how kids can get involved.

"The Foundation Female Program will grant youth (7th and 8th graders) an interest-free, five-year loan to purchase five bred heifers at the current market price," Frey explained. "Repayment of the loan will be deferred for the first year with a payment schedule set forth as follows; 20 percent repayment due at the end of year two, 20 percent repayment due at the end of year three, 20 percent repayment due at the end of year four, and 40 percent repayment due at the end of year five."

The recipients of the loan will be able to choose their own heifers to purchase, so they can best fit into their current family operation. The bank will approve the purchases, and the only real stipulation is the young person can't buy from relatives."

"Part of this program is having these kids network with other folks," he said. "The ranchers they purchase their heifers from can become mentors to these young people. That's why we don't want them just to go to grandpa and buy some heifers. We want them to step outside of their comfort zone and meet someone new as they buy their foundation females."

The bank decided to launch this program because of personal involvement in the business. Frey and a fellow loan officer in the office raise cattle, so they know the challenges that come with trying to be in the business.

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"We have been in a liquidation phase in the livestock industry as the average age of the producer increases, and we aren't seeing the next generation step in," he explained. "We have really been thinking about how to help these younger producers get off the ground and get started. The agricultural business is a difficult one to get started in. It takes a lot of capital to operate. We researched pre-existing programs, and the one program we stumbled upon was based out of a bank in Iowa. They started a program in 2001 and have put 225 bred females in the hands of 45 kids. If we can have that kind of impact, we would consider it a home run. Giving kids a foundation and basis to get into the beef business is our drive to do this. The community has been very supportive of this effort, as well."

Co-sponsors for the Dakota Community Bank & Trust Foundation Female Program include: the Bowman Auction Market, offering up to $250 operating money per year and commission free sale of cattle; Bowman Grain, committing a $500 line of credit to purchase feed, mineral or supplies; Bowman Sales & Service, sponsoring up to $500 of operating money per year; Bowman Vet Clinic, offering up to $250 operating money per year and will provide vaccinations and pregnancy examinations to program cattle; Dakota Farm Equipment, offering up to $500 of operating money; Steffan Feed's, opening up a $500 line of credit to purchase feed, mineral or supplies; Stockmen's Livestock Exchange, giving up to $500 of operating money and commission free sale of cattle; and West Dakota Vet Clinic, who will provide vaccinations and pregnancy examinations to program cattle.

Applications are currently be accepted until Oct. 25. Applicants must reside in one of the following North Dakota counties: Stark, Dunn, Billings, Bowman, Golden Valley, Adams, Slope and Hettinger, or Harding County, S.D.

"We will be selecting our winners in the middle of November, and we encourage any youth in the area who have an interest in the cattle business to apply," he said.

Tri-State Livestock News will publish the announcement of the Foundation Female Program recipients as well as the female selections and business plans of the selected youth. Stay tuned for further updates from Dakota Community Bank & Trust.

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