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Beginning Farmer School Seeks Cyclists, Pledges

Beginning Farmer School Seeks Cyclists, Pledges
Ride to Farm fundraiser will be held through the rolling hills of Dane and Green counties on June 2.

Dozens of cyclists will be riding through the rolling hills of rural Dane and Green counties on Saturday, June 2 in support of the next generation of dairy and livestock farmers.

Many thanks to our Ride to Farm sponsors: Culver's Restaurants for coupons and promotional development; Organic Valley Farmer-Owned for fresh cheese and milk from their farms; Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board for ride t-shirts; Faith Technologies for local food and snacks at farm stops; and American Transmission Co., Family Dairies USA, Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association, We Energies and Wisconsin Farmers Union for their continued generous support of the WSBDF and Ride to Farm

The University of Wisconsin-Madison's School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers is recruiting riders and pledges for its ninth annual Ride to Farm fundraiser. Cyclists can opt for a 64-mile (103K) all-day ride or shorter morning and afternoon rides. The ride begins and ends at Dane County's Goodland Park with a mid-day stop in New Glarus, an optional lunch at Culver's Restaurant and rest stops on farms along the way. Kate VandenBosch, Dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, will send off the riders at 8:40 a.m.

"We hold this event both to raise funds for scholarships and general program activities, and also to raise awareness of the importance of supporting the next generation of innovative farmers," says WSBDF director Dick Cates. "We are grateful for contributions of any amount."

Pledges for individual riders and teams, as well as general contributions to the WSBDF, can be made online at  

Riders can sign up, solicit donors and track pledges online at Participants can ride either as individuals or in teams. Each rider must raise at least $75 in pledges. Rider teams that collect the highest pledge amounts will be awarded traveling trophies. Prizes will also be given to top individual fundraisers and will include 52 free Organic Valley products for a year, two tickets to American Players Theater, a Ride to Farm jersey and a 2012 Trek 1.5 Compact H2 road bike.

The route includes rest breaks on two area farms where participants can sample locally produced cheese, milk and other treats. The morning stop is at the Brooklyn farm of Ruth and Joel McNair, publishers of Graze magazine. In the afternoon, riders will stop at the farm of Bert and Trish Paris in Belleville, who have mentored several WSBDF interns. The ride will culminate with an award ceremony at 3:00 pm followed by a potluck picnic at Goodland Park.

WSBDF provides aspiring farmers with classroom instruction, on-farm internships, and business planning and mentoring opportunities, with an emphasis on managed grazing. Most students attend class in Madison, but many participate from classrooms around the state through a combination of local instruction and video links to Madison. The program is a partnership between the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and the Farm and Industry Short Course, both programs of the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Instructors include UW-Madison faculty, graduates of the program, mentor farmers, farm lenders and other agribusiness professionals.

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