Passion for the prairie
Even on the rare occasions the Kubas children got the chance to leave the farm while growing up, Bobby Kubas didn't want to go.
The fifth generation farmer and rancher couldn't think of a place he'd rather be.
"I just loved to be around it all the time," Bobby said. "I still love it."
Bobby, 22, is the only son of David and Mary Kubas, who farm northwest of South Heart. Bobby hopes to one day take over the farm from his parents.
Michelle, David and Mary's youngest child at 18, said her and her three sisters could always tell Bobby wanted to take it over.
"He's always wanted to take over the farm and we just assumed that would happen," Michelle said.
David and Mary raised five children on their farm; Maralee, 24, Bobby, Amanda, 20, Alyssa, 19, and Michelle.
Maralee currently works for the Dickinson Catholic Schools as a choir and band teacher at Trinity East and Trinity West, Amanda goes to school at the University of Mary, Alyssa attended a hair academy and now works at MasterCuts in Bismarck and Michelle will be attending Dickinson State University in the fall.
Bobby has slowly begun to take over the farm and ranch operation from his parents, who are often times busy with their construction company Double D Construction and Mary's job as office coordinator for United Building Center in Dickinson.
"It's a good feeling knowing Bobby is here," Mary said.
"There are a lot of things that wouldn't get done if it wasn't for Bobby," David said.
Bobby isn't the only one helping on the farm though; he gets plenty of help from his parents in return.
"One thing about farming is if you're not born into it you can't get a start," Bobby said. "...There's no way you can get started without help."
David and Mary hope to slowly sell their equipment and land to Bobby and help him get started, just like David's parents, David Sr. and Patricia, helped them.
"One thing I hope we can do is turn the land over to Bobby sooner than we got it," David said.
David grew up on a farm five miles north of South Heart that was settled in 1893 by his great-grandfather, Joseph Kubas, who came over from Bohemia.
When David and Mary were married in 1982, they helped on his parent's dairy and farmed before moving to their current place in 1986.
Like his son, Bobby, farming was something David felt drawn to.
"Farming is just...it's in my blood," David said. "I want to go out there and do a good job...It's a matter of pride."
David and Mary farmed and ranched up until 1997, when due to poor prices and David's allergies they sold all their cows and moved to a farming operation. Then in 1998, they started Double D Construction.
In the ensuing years, farming has become like a vacation for David, who spends his winters working construction and his springs and summers farming.
"Farming is just our passion," Mary said.
"Financially, you're not going to get rich, but when you look back, all that hard work pays off," David said. "It's a great place to raise your kids."
David and Mary said even through the tough years there's a silver lining to life on the farm.
"There were a lot of years where we had tough going there," David said. "Looking back that's probably one of the best things that happened to us it made us a lot tighter as a family."
"It's in God's hands," Mary said. "That's the beauty of living on the farm, there's so much of God's beauty."
In recent years, Bobby has started raising cattle again and is trying to start up his own herd. He currently runs Black Angus, Red Angus, Simmental and Charolais cattle on the ranch.
"I think I like the farming a little bit better than the ranching, but I just bought the cows," Bobby said. "I'd take either over having a full-time job any day."'
Bobby said with prices where they are it's difficult to purchase the high end cattle, but over the years he hopes to build a nice herd for himself.
Bobby helps supplement his dream of eventually taking over the farm by working for Pheasant Country Woodworks in South Heart.
Finding ways to pay the bills is important for every farmer Bobby and David said and farmers have to wear several hats.
"When you're farming you need to be a welder, an electrician," Bobby said. "You always need to be saving money."
One way the Kubas family has saved money is by going without the latest technology and David is ok with that.
"When you're a little bigger farmer you can justify that," David said. "And I like putting my hands on the steering wheel yet."
"You buy it, fix it up, paint it up," Mary said. "There's a certain pride in that."
David and Mary said they're confident Bobby will do well where they leave off and had some advice for their son and for others who were thinking about getting into the farm and ranch business.
"You have to have real determination and it has to be something you want to do," David said.
"Work hard, there's a lot of long hours," Mary said. "But pray hard and thank God in the end."
Bobby hopes to be working hard and putting in those longs hours doing what he loves for a long time.
"My first love is farming," Bobby said. "I'll be farming until the bank tells me I can't."