Joe and Helen Doll began their career in 1946, multi-tasking, with a dairy barn full of cows, along with beef cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens and horses. Also involved in farming, there wasn’t much time left in the day for focusing on much of anything but production.
Joe had heard talk of the heavy weaning weights that the Charolais breed offered, and in 1958, the couple decided to start their breeding empire.
In 1969, Helen attended a meeting about a new breed introduced in the U.S., the Simmental. Joe was attending a Charolais sale in Montana, and wasn’t able to go with her. The meeting stressed the performance, easy-going nature, and maternal strength of the breed, and Helen was sold, convincing Joe to take a chance, and see if it would complement what they were seeing with the Charolais. Using artificial insemination, the couple found the demand was there.
In 1973, they bought their first Simmental herd bull, an import out of Munter, from Monte Boren of Bismarck. The early 1980s saw the introduction of the black Simmental, and Joe, along with fellow breeder Jake Larson, were some of the first to incorporate this into their programs.
Joe and Helen’s persistence with both breeds has paid off. Their first production sale, in 1980, consisted of about 50 bulls and 50 females of both breeds. Today, the sale has grown to 160 bulls, but just 10-15 open females. Their private sales and friendships across all breeds have also continued to grow.
In 1989 the Dolls received the Pioneer Award at the North Dakota Charolais Association, and in both 1993 and 2000 they were the Seed Stock Producer of the year.
In 2015, the Dolls received the Pioneer Award from the North Dakota Simmental Association. Joe and Helen’s American Simmental Association number was the seventh one issued in North Dakota, where they hold the longest active ASA membership in the state.
In 1971, Joe consigned both Charolais and Simmental bulls to the first all-breeds bull test held in Bismarck, which also marked the first annual sale for the North Dakota Simmental Association. And in 2000, the family had the top gaining bull in the North Dakota Cattlemen’s Association bull test.
Raising bulls for the commercial cattle industry has always been a focus for the ranch. Over the years, the family has built a solid reputation with a strong clientele, based not only on their cattle, but also on their honesty and straightforward nature.