Dawn Martin of Beulah is not a “typical” NDFU member.

“I didn’t grow up in the program like most members. I didn’t get into NDFU until later in life,” she said.

Dawn and her husband started in NDFU when approached about the FUE couples program.

“They thought we would be a good fit, and we thought ‘Why not?’” she said. “We know what NDFU does with the cooperatives, we just didn’t know the NDFU side.”

She describes the FUE couples program as a “great and eye-opening experience.”

Dawn also participated in the fly-in to Washington, D.C.

“It was another eye-opening experience, to feel like you actually had a say in what the government does, yet feeling so small like we don’t at the same time!” Dawn said.

After learning more about state government with NDFU’s Grow to Lead program, she said she was learning more about the changes needed with the grassroots and how speaking up is important.

While Dawn participates in many different NDFU programs, including the secretary of her county Farmers Union board, she also is a leader in other aspects of her life. She shows horses and was recently at the World Show. She was also recently awarded the state employee of the year for the Soil Conservation and was appointed to the Farm Credit Services Board of Directors.

“I thought ‘There’s no way I’m getting elected.’ But, I figured I would get my name out there, and I was elected!” she said.

When asked about women getting into leadership, she didn’t hesitate when she answered.

“Just do it, honestly!” Dawn said. “Women listen, we’re good at listening. So, just learn and listen, and you might not have something to say right away, which is fine. But when you do have something to say, it will mean something, and people will listen.”

Asked if she could go back in time and change one thing about your life, what would it be and why, Dawn took a minute before answering thoughtfully.

“I don’t think I would change anything,” she said. “If I did change something, you know, go to school out of state or something like that, I may not be where I am. There are reasons things happen, and there’s not really anything I would change. I’m happy where I am.”

— Brittany Lipetzky, NDFU