Friends of the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers will be pedaling for pledges when they wheel out of Dane County's Lake Farm Park on June 12 for the 6th Annual Ride to Farm.
The group of determined cyclists will make a three-day, 200-mile loop around southern Wisconsin, stopping along the way to highlight the accomplishments of the school’s graduates. The riders are currently collecting pledges for an endowment to support the school’s efforts to educate the next generation of Wisconsin’s dairy and livestock farmers.
WSBDF is a University of Wisconsin-Madison program that offers classroom instruction, on-farm internships, business planning and lifetime mentoring. More than 300 students have attended the program,
and over 75 percent of the graduates are farming.
"Our graduates are successful business people and productive, contributing members of their communities. The Ride to Farm is an opportunity to communicate how necessary and important it is to support a next generation of bright, innovative farmers on our working lands," says Dick Cates, the event’s organizer.
The school is led by Cates and Jennifer Taylor of the UW- Madison’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems. The curriculum is offered as part of the university’s Farm and Industry Short Course. Teachers
include UW-Madison faculty, graduates of the program and other farmers, farm lenders and other agribusiness professionals.
The public is encouraged to meet the riders at any of the stops in the three-day itinerary:
Friday, June 12 (75 miles)
- 8 a.m., riders gather at Lake Farm Park, 4330 Libby Road, Madison.
- 8:30 a.m. send-off event; ride begins.
- Early-afternoon lunch at the farm of 2004 WSBDF student Kyle Tews
(parents Gary and Jerry), 7725 Plymouth Church Rd, Orfordville.
- Late-afternoon picnic supper with Monroe FFA, Twining Park, Monroe
Saturday, June 13 (70 miles)
- 8:30 a.m. start, Super 8 Motel, Monroe
- Late-afternoon picnic supper with the River Valley FFA at Uplands
Cheese-Grass Dairy (5025 State Rd 23, ca. 6 miles N. of Dodgeville on
Hwy 23), the farm of Mike and Carol Gingrich and Dan and Jeanne
Patenaude, where 2007 WSBDF graduate Andy Hatch, is cheese maker.
Sunday 6/14 (55 miles)
- Start 9:00 a.m. Best Western Motel, Dodgeville
- Late a.m. brunch, Culvers, Mt. Horeb
- Mid-afternoon finish, Shelter #2, Lake Farm+ Park. Fundraiser and
celebration with live music by Steez. Cost will be $10 per person
(additional donations welcome)
Ride to Farm sponsors include American Transmission Company, Culvers Restaurants, Family Dairies USA, Farm Credit-Wisconsin, Organic Valley Family of Farms, Town & Country Electric, United FCS, We Energies, Wisconsin Farmers Union, Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, and UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
For more information about collecting and submitting pledges, contact Jodi Wickham, 608-263-2027, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Carol Chapa, 608-265-4049, Carol.email@example.com; or visit the UW Foundation website at www.uwfoundation.wisc.edu; or the WSBDF website at www.cias.wisc.edu/dairysch.html.