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Farm and Industry Short Course Celebrate 127th Anniversary

Farm and Industry Short Course Celebrate 127th Anniversary
More than 170 attend annual reunion.

More than 170 graduates, current students, supporters and friends of the UW-Madison Farm and Industry Short Course (FISC) gathered at the Coliseum Bar and Banquet Hall in Madison on Saturday, Jan. 28 for the 127th anniversary of this well-known agricultural education program.

Since its beginning in 1885, production agriculture has been the focus of the program.  Graduates, from as long as 50 years ago to those currently enrolled, speak of the practicality of the coursework and the positive life experiences they gained during their days as FISC students.

AWARD WINNERS: The Farm and Industry Short Course Alumni presented two awards at the 127th Anniversary Reunion. Pictured Left to Right: Ted Halbach FISC Director, William Tracy, Interim Dean of CALS, Dr. Richard Cates; Service to Agriculture Award Winner, Karen Knipschild, Friend of Short Course Award Winner, Dr. Richard Daluge, Emeritus Associate Dean and FISC Director, Andrea Brossard, FISC Alumni President.

Larry Meiller, professor emeritus, Life Science Communications, served as the emcee for the program.  William Tracy, Interim Dean for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) extended greetings and warm wishes.  In addition, Sarah Pfatteicher, Interim Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs and Services, CALS; Jeff Lyon, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection; Jill Makovec president of Wisconsin Agricultural and Life Sciences Alumni Association (WALSAA) greeted the crowd. 

In addition, Bob Kauffman, professor emeritus of the Dairy Science Department, and the Dimensions in Sound provided pre-reunion music and the UW Marching Band got the crowd in the Badger spirit!

The highlighting event of the day was the live auction of Jorns Artwork, with the proceeds of $2,200 going toward FISC 2012-2013 scholarships.  The auctioneer was FISC graduate, Jeremy Schafer of Lake City, Minnesota.

The Friend of Short Course Award was presented to Karen Knipschild, Advisor, UW Higher Education Location Program – UW System.  After a career in radio hosting and production, Karen was hired by Dr. Richard Daluge, Assistant Dean Emeritus and previous FISC Director as his graduate assistant in 2001 while enrolled full time in UW-Madison's Continuing and Vocational Education master's program. Her master's thesis, The Nature of Learning among Women in Agriculture, was based on two years of research and interviews with twelve female farming managers who either graduated from FISC or the four year degree program. After receiving her master's degree she served as interim director upon Daluge's retirement and was eventually hired as the assistant director.

Among her many duties as assistant director, Karen was the primary public information and recruitment officer visiting hundreds of Wisconsin agricultural high school classrooms in addition to representing FISC at Farm Technology Days, World Dairy Expo, Wisconsin State Fair, and state and national FFA conventions.  She was responsible for the development of the Farm & Industry Short Course Ambassador program and taught the English Composition class for four years. 

In 2009, Karen was awarded an Honorary State FFA Degree.  The national agriculture sorority, Sigma Alpha, honored her with an Ag Advocate Award in the same year. She was the recipient of the State Special Citation Award by the Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators at their statewide convention last summer for her work as the FFA CDE Contest manager.

The Service to Agriculture Award was presented to Dr. Richard Cares, Jr., Center for Integrated Agriculture, Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers and CALS Grazing Systems Programming, for his continued dedication and service to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Farm and Industry Short Course and the Wisconsin agriculture industry.  Richard (Dick) earned his Ph.D. (1983) in Soil Science and Plant Health from the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison while serving an Aldo Leopold Fellowship.  He received his M.S. in Soil Science from Montana State Univ. (1979), and B.A. in Anthropology and Geography, Dartmouth College (1974). Shortly after completion of the Ph.D., he served for eight years as agriculturist with the Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Dick holds a 75%-time appointment within the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences, he is Senior Lecturer in the Dept. of Soil Science, Director of a new CALS Grazing Systems Programming Initiative, and Director of the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy & Livestock Farmers (WSBDF; a program of the UW Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems), a program he helped initiate in 1995. The WSBDF, now in its 17th year, emphasizes dairy and livestock farm start-up, managed grazing, and business skill development through classroom curriculum and on-farm internship training. More than 400 students have been enrolled in the WSBDF since the program's inception.  The WSBDF was also the first program within the UW-Madison CALS to offer classes through Internet distance education. Dick also teaches courses he helped to develop on grassland management and ecology.

He was recognized as the WI Grazing Community Communicator of the Year (2009), J.S. Donald 'Excellence in Teaching' award (2004), UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), and the Distinguished Agricultural Award (2000), the Kiwanis Club of Downtown Madison.

Dick and Kim Cates and their children, have operated an 800-acre managed-grazing beef steer and custom dairy heifer business since 1987. In 1989 they began to direct-market beef from their pasture-raised Angus (now also, Jersey) steers; at present they provide Cates Family Farm beef directly to more than 200 households, retail-businesses, and restaurants located in south central Wisconsin, Madison, Milwaukee, and the Chicago area.

Side Bar:

Reunion Sponsors and Donors:

Red and White Club              ($150-$299)

East Central/Select Sires, Waupun, WI

Union Bank & Trust Company, WI

Varsity Club ($300-$500)

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Madison, WI

Henry Farms, Dane, WI

Door Prize Donations:

ABS Global

AgSource Cooperative

East Central/Select Sires

Foremost Farms, USA

Land O' Lakes


Partners in Production (PiP)


Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board

Vita Plus

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