The mentoring program is designed to help high school and college students explore the career area of their choice by matching them with an expert in that field to help teach them more about that trade. The teams commit eight months to one another starting in February and ending in late September. Through visits and mini-work experiences, the mentors help expose the proteges to opportunities related to the beef cattle industry and challenge them to become leaders in it.

The proteges are chosen from a large group of applicants by a committee who select the individuals based on their application responses to short-answer questions about why they would like to work in their chosen area of agriculture.

Teams will be selected in December and the Mentoring Workshop will take place in early February. Teams are required to attend the workshop, then meet four times before the end of September. Proteges will turn in at least four journal entrees and 25 career-specific vocabulary words and their definitions.

Application and reference letter deadline for the 2016 Mentoring Program is Nov. 1, 2015. Download the application below or call our office at 701-223-2522 to have one sent to you.
(Must have valid driver's license.)
Read about the 2015 Mentoring Program participants below.
David Dockter (left) is mentoring
Dylan Enger in artificial insemination.
Steve Marquardt (left) is mentoring
Jameson Ellingson in equipment and parts sales.
Natalie Tokach (right) is mentoring
Stetson Ellingson in animal health.
Mentoring Program helps young people on beef-related career paths
2015 NDSA Mentoring Program Class begins journeys

As a young adult, choosing a career path can be an overwhelming decision. Fortunately, North Dakota youth interested in the livestock industry don’t have to travel the path alone. For the past 17 years, the NDSA Mentoring Program has given high school and college students an opportunity to gain experience in a livestock-related career of their choice in hopes of making their decisions a little less daunting. In February, four mentor/protégé teams were ushered in as the 2015 NDSA Mentoring Program Class.

During the annual kickoff workshop on Feb. 19 at Farm Credit Services of Mandan, the pairs met, learned more about one another, established program goals and discussed what they expect to gain from the seven-month mentoring experience.

This year, the workshop was facilitated by Rachelle Vettern, leadership/volunteer development specialist for the Center for 4-H and Youth Development, and Jackie Buckley, Morton County Extension agent.

Buckley encouraged the teams to get the most out of their time together and offered some tips to achieve the most successful experiences. Vettern coached the group through a number of exercises that helped them understand the importance of setting goals and maintaining communication. She emphasized that miscommunication is often a factor in the workplace and presented material to further explain generational language barriers. Even though the teams are only required to meet four times during their program experience, Buckley encouraged them to meet as often as possible.

The teams include the following: in equipment and parts sales, Jameson Ellingson of St. Anthony with Steve Marquardt of Mandan; in animal health, Stetson Ellingson of St. Anthony with Natalie Tokach of Mandan; in veterinary medicine, Kacey Koester with Dr. Troy Dutton, both of Steele; and, in the area of artificial insemination, Dylan Enger of Stanley with long-time NDSA mentor David Dockter of Mandan.

The teams will meet at least four times during the period.

Protégés are asked to keep journals of their meetings and maintain a list of vocabulary words unique to their field of study.

Upon completion of the program, the entire class will meet a final time for a wrap-up session and recognition during the NDSA Annual Convention & Trade Show in Bismarck in September.

Applications for the 2016 NDSA Mentoring Program are due Dec. 1. For more information or a copy of the application, call Laiken Aune at (701) 223-2522 or visit






North Dakota Stockmen's Association
407 S. 2nd St. * Bismarck, ND 58504