Cyclists will ride through the rolling hills of Dane and Green counties on June 2 to support the next generation of dairy and livestock farmers.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers is accepting registrations and pledges for its 15th annual Ride to Farm fundraiser. Cyclists can opt for a hilly 100-kilometer ride (about 62 miles) or a shorter half-day route of about 30 miles. The event starts and finishes at Goodland Park, 2862 Waubesa Ave., Madison, Wis., with two farm rest and refreshment stops and lunch at Culvers Restaurant, New Glarus.
“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, co-founder and co-director of the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers (WSBDF). “We are grateful for contributions of any amount.”
Riders will receive a sendoff at 8:30 a.m. from Cates, who is retiring as director later in June after serving 24 years. After the ride, Wisconsin brats will be served and the 70th Alice in Dairyland, Crystal Siemers-Peterman, will present awards beginning at around 3:30 p.m. to the top fundraisers and best costumes 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 Trek road bike, 52 free Organic Valley products for a year, gift certificates to Erik’s Bike Shop, a pair of tickets to American Players Theater, a Ride to Farm jersey, and the book “Voices from the Heart of the Land” by Cates.
The route includes rest breaks on two area farms where riders can sample locally produced cheese and other treats provided by farm families. The morning stop is at Fisher Valley Dairy Farm, a 50-cow grazing dairy near Oregon. Thomas Grady and his son TJ are both graduates of the WSBDF (2002 and 2016, respectively), and their farm has been in the family since 1898.
The afternoon stop is at Pauli Dairy Farm, a 50-cow organic and grass-based dairy near Montrose. Tim Pauli has been farming for 33 years and was part of a dairy grazing cooperative of which several members helped to launch the WSBDF in 1995.
The WSBDF, which emphasizes managed grazing, provides aspiring farmers with classroom instruction, on-farm internships, business planning and mentoring. Students from across the state can 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.
2018 Ride to Farm sponsors include: Compeer Financial, Culver’s Restaurants, FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, Organic Valley Farmer-Owned, Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association and Wisconsin Farmers Union.
Source: Ride to Farm