The University of Wisconsin-Madison's School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers is currently accepting registrations and pledges for its 12th annual Ride to Farm fundraiser.
Cyclists will ride through the rolling hills of Iowa County on Saturday, June 6 to support the next generation of dairy and livestock farmers. Cyclists can opt for a hilly 100K ride (about 62 miles) or a less hilly, 52-mile route. Shorter morning and afternoon rides are also options. The event starts and finishes at Botham Vineyards & Winery, located at 8180 Langberry Road, Barneveld.
"We hold this event to raise funds for scholarships and general program activities and to raise awareness of the importance of supporting the next generation of innovative farmers," says Dick Cates, director of the WSBDF. "We are grateful for contributions of any amount."
Riders will receive a rousing send-off at 8:30 a.m. from UW-Madison alumna Louise Hemstead, chief operating officer of Organic Valley. When the ride is over, Alice in Dairyland will present awards to the top fundraisers during a short ceremony.
Individual riders and teams can sign up, solicit donations and track pledges at ridetofarm.dojiggy.com. Supporters can go to the same site to pledge riders or make contributions directly to the WSBDF.
Each rider must raise at least $75. Teams that collect the most pledges will receive traveling trophies. Prizes for top individual fundraisers include a 2015 Trek road bike, 52 free Organic Valley products for a year, a pair of tickets to American Players Theater and a Ride to Farm jersey.
The route includes rest breaks on two area farms where riders can sample locally produced cheese, milk and other treats provided by farm families and the River Valley FFA. The morning stop is at the Heisner Family Farm, an Organic Valley dairy run by Cyrus Heisner, a WSBDF graduate, his brother Adam Heisner and their families. In the afternoon, riders will rest at Anne Topham's small goat dairy farm near Ridgeway.
The ride will culminate with an awards ceremony followed by light refreshments and a wine tasting at Botham Vineyards & Winery.
The Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers, which emphasizes managed grazing, provides aspiring farmers with classroom instruction, on-farm internships, business planning and mentoring. Students from across the state are able to participate in the program via distance education sites. The WSBDF 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.
2015 Ride to Farm sponsors include: American Transmission Co., Badgerland Financial, Culver's, Organic Valley, Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association, Wisconsin Farmers Union and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.