Bicyclists to Pedal for Pledges June 13

Event will help support beginning dairy and livestock farmers.

Published on: May 22, 2008

Friends of the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers will be pedaling for pledges when they roll out Friday, June 13 in the 5th Annual Ride to Farm.

A group of determined cyclists will make a three-day trip from a farm near Nichols in Outagamie County to a farm at Elkhorn in Walworth County. Their goal is to raise endowment funds and visibility for the school and its mission of supporting a next generation of Wisconsin farmers.

The riders are collecting pledges and making a series of stops along the route to highlight the achievements of the school's graduates.

WSBDF is a University of Wisconsin-Madison program that offers classroom instruction, on-farm internships, business planning and lifetime mentoring. More than 270 students have attended the program and over 80 percent of graduates are farming.

The school is led by Dick Cates and Jennifer Taylor of the UW- Madison's Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems. The curriculum is offered as part of the university's Farm and Industry Short Course. Teachers include UW-Madison faculty, graduates of the program and other farmers, farm lenders and other agribusiness professionals.

"Our graduates are successful business people and productive, contributing members of their communities. The Ride to Farm is an opportunity to communicate how necessary and important it is to support a next generation of bright, innovative farmers on our working lands," says Dick Cates, organizer of the event.

The public is encouraged to meet the riders at any of the stops in the three-day itinerary:

Friday, June 13: The ride begins at at 8:00 a.m. on the farm of Aaron Barclay (WSBDF '04), N8849 Grandy Rd., Nichols. From there, the ride heads to Culvers of Appleton for lunch with Rollie and Sue Stephenson of Town & Country Electric, and ends with a picnic supper at the Saxon Homestead Farm, 15621 S. Union Rd, Cleveland, home of WSBDF graduates Joe Heimerl ('01) and Rambr Emrich ('00).

Saturday, June 14: Riders will pedal west and south to join the Kewaskum FFA for lunch and tour an organic dairy farm, continue southwest to Hartford, and end the day with Ike and Shelly Mayer, Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW), hosting a picnic supper with local agricultural youth at their farm near Slinger.

Sunday, June 15: Riders will journey southwest, stop for an early lunch at Culvers of Oconomowoc, and continue south toward Elkhorn for a BBQ at the farm of Altfrid and Sue Krusenbaum, W3194 Cty Rd D, with WSBDF graduates, local graziers and agricultural youth.

Ride to Farm sponsors include American Transmission Company, Culvers Restaurants, Farm Credit-Wisconsin, FCS-Financial Services, Organic Valley Family of Farms, Town & Country Electric, We Energies, Wisconsin Farmers Union, Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, and UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

For more information about collecting and submitting pledges, contact Jodi Wickham, 608-263-2027, jodi.wickham@uwfoundation.wisc.edu; or Carol Chapa, 608-265-4049, carol.chapa@uwfoundation.wisc.edu; or visit the UW Foundation website at www.uwfoundation.wisc.edu; or the WSBDF website at www.cias.wisc.edu/dairysch.html