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UW-River Falls to host Farm and Industry Short CourseUW-River Falls to host Farm and Industry Short Course

With the return of Short Course, students can participate in additional programs at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and UW-Madison.

Fran O'Leary

March 31, 2023

3 Min Read
farmer talking to students in dairy barn
1- OR 2-YEAR PROGRAM: Short Course students will have the opportunity to take courses for one or two years. The first year will focus on the fundamentals of dairy farm operations with emphasis on managing the animal. The second year will continue to focus on animals with additional emphasis on whole-farm management.FARM PROGRESS

The University of Wisconsin System’s oldest farm training program, Farm and Industry Short Course, will return this fall with the traditional 16-week residential program hosted by UW-River Falls.

Short Course began on the UW-Madison campus in 1885 as a way for scientists to share their findings with farmers during the winter months so new practices could be applied the following growing season. The program has gone through many changes over the past 137 years. Meanwhile, agricultural programming has grown significantly at UW-River Falls and UW-Platteville.

Short Course was last offered at UW-Madison in the 2021-22 academic year. The program will be hosted by UW-River Falls starting this fall. Input has been sought from farmers, alumni and other dairy industry representatives who confirmed the need for a training program that is hands-on, credit-bearing and taught by top-notch faculty.

“The expertise of faculty and professors teaching the specific courses opens your eyes to a range of possibilities you may not have considered,” says dairy farmer Paul Lippert of Grass Ridge Farm, Short Course graduate. “Living and learning with others who are as passionate as you is a significant benefit of the residential short course program. The camaraderie and relationships I built as a student have stayed with me throughout my career.”

It is great news that UW-River Falls has stepped up to become the Short Course host. And people there are looking forward to hosting.

“UW-River Falls is excited to develop a residential program to train today’s and tomorrow’s agricultural workforce in a perfect complement to our other student-centered, hands-on educational offerings,” says Dean Olson, interim dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences at UW-River Falls. “The Farm and Industry Short Course has provided valuable instruction and networking opportunities for decades of students, and we are ready to host the next generation of farm owners, managers and service providers.”

Short Course at UWRF will include an opportunity for students to participate in additional educational programs at UW-Platteville and UW-Madison.

“We have long understood the value of the Farm and Industry Short Course to the state’s agriculture industry. Short Course students will benefit from unique features of each campus during the full program, such as the automatic milking systems in use at the Platteville campus,” says Charles Steiner, interim dean of the UW-Platteville College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture.

Short Course at UW-River Falls will start Oct. 30 and run through March 15, 2024. The inaugural class will be limited to 24 students. A special tuition and housing rate will be offered to these students, and interested students should plan to apply before June 1.

Students will live in the UWRF residence halls and earn academic credits from UWRF, experiencing the supportive environment of a welcoming campus community where lifelong relationships and lasting mentorships are created. Classes will be taught by UWRF faculty during the first semester (eight-week period). During the winter term, programming is envisioned as a collaborative effort among UWRF, UW-Platteville and UW-Madison to expose participants to unique characteristics of each campus. Students would then take classes for the first half of the spring 2024 semester at UWRF. A total of 20 to 24 credits would be earned by the students in the first year — credits that may be applied to a degree program at UWRF or elsewhere.

Students will have the opportunity to take courses for one or two years. The first year will focus on the critical, fundamental aspects of dairy farm operations with heavy emphasis on managing the animal. The second year will continue to focus on animal management with additional emphasis on managing operations of the whole farm.

To learn more, visit the UWRF FISC webpage, or call 715-425-3704.

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About the Author(s)

Fran O'Leary

Wisconsin Agriculturist Editor

Even though Fran was born and raised on a farm in Illinois, she has spent most of her life in Wisconsin. She moved to the state when she was 18 years old and later graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

Fran has 25 years of experience writing, editing and taking pictures. Before becoming editor of the Wisconsin Agriculturist in 2003, she worked at Johnson Hill Press in Fort Atkinson as a writer and editor of farm business publications and at the Janesville Gazette in Janesville as farm editor and feature writer. Later, she signed on as a public relations associate at Bader Rutter in Brookfield, and served as managing editor and farm editor at The Reporter, a daily newspaper in Fond du Lac.

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