11th Annual Ride to Farm Seeks Cyclists and Pledges to Support UW Beginning Farmer School

11th Annual Ride to Farm Seeks Cyclists and Pledges to Support UW Beginning Farmer School

Dozens of cyclists will be riding through the rolling hills of Iowa and Sauk counties on Saturday, May 31 to support the next generation of dairy and livestock farmers.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers (WSBDF) is signing up riders and pledges for its 11th annual Ride to Farm fundraiser. Cyclists can opt for a hilly (52-mile, 1500 ft elevation rise) or hillier (55-mile, 2150 ft rise) all-day route or shorter morning and afternoon rides. The event starts and finishes at Birch Lake Park in Iowa County with a mid-day stop at Culvers Restaurant in Spring Green and rest stops on farms along the way.

“Fabulous Farm Babe” Pam Jahnke of the Wisconsin Farm Report will give the riders a send-off at 8:30 a.m. Alice in Dairyland Kristin Olson will hand out awards to top money-raisers at the end.

“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 WSBDF director Dick Cates. “We are grateful for contributions of any amount.”

Riders can sign up, solicit donors and track pledges at www.ridetofarm.dojiggy.com. Supporters can go to the same site to pledge or make contributions to WSBDF. Cyclists can ride as individuals or in teams. Each rider must raise at least $75. Teams that collect the most pledges will receive traveling trophies. Prizes for top individual fundraisers include a 2014 Trek road bike, 52 free Organic Valley products for a year, two 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 north of Dodgeville at Grass Dairy, the home of Uplands Cheese, where WSBDF graduates have interned and started their farming careers. The afternoon stop is at south of Spring Green at Cates Family Farm owned and operated by Dick and Kim Cates. The ride will culminate with 3 p.m. awards ceremony followed by a potluck picnic at Birch Lake Park.

WSBDF provides aspiring farmers with classroom instruction, on-farm internships, and business planning and mentoring, with an emphasis on managed grazing. Students attend class in Madison or participate from classrooms around the state through a combination of local instruction and video links to Madison. The program is offered by 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, WSBDF alumni and other farmers, farm lenders and other agribusiness professionals.

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

The Ride to Farm thanks Culver's Restaurants (for coupons and promotional development), Organic Valley Farmer-Owned (for coupons, prizes and fresh cheese and milk), Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (for t-shirts), Trek Bicycles, Badgerland Financial, American Transmission Co., Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association, and the Wisconsin Farmers Union for their continued generous support of the WSBDF and Ride to Farm.

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