UW-Madison: Beginning farmer school seeks cyclists, pledges for Ride to Farm fundraiser

CONTACT: Dick Cates, 608-588-2836, [email protected]

MADISON – 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 farmers.

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.

“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.

Riders can sign up, solicit donors and track pledges online at ridetofarm.dojiggy.com . Participants can ride either as individuals or in teams. Each rider must raise at least $75 in pledges. Prizes will be awarded for both top individual and team fundraisers and will include, among others, 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, where participants can sample cheese, milk and other snacks. 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 p.m. followed by a potluck picnic at Goodland Park.

WSBDF provides aspiring farmers with classroom instruction, on-farm internships, business planning and mentoring, 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.

For more information, visit http://www.cias.wisc.edu/dairysch.html.

Ride to Farm sponsors include Culver’s Restaurants, Organic Valley Farmer-Owned, the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Faith Technologies, American Transmission Co., Family Dairies USA, Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association, We Energies, and Wisconsin Farmers Union.