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 dairy and livestock 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. Kate VandenBosch, Dean, College of Agricultural & Life Sciences, UW-Madison will send off the Ride at 8:40 a.m.
"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 the school's director Dick Cates.
Cates added, "We are grateful for contributions of any amount, and the public is invited to go on line at www.ridetofarm.dojiggy.com
and make a pledge to a rider, a team of riders, or to the Ride event in general…and we thank you for thinking of the next generation of farmers, stewards of Wisconsin's working lands."
Riders need to register for the ride, solicit donors and track pledges online at www.ridetofarm.dojiggy.com
. Participants can ride either as individuals or in teams. Each rider must raise at least $75 in pledges.
Rider teams amassing the most dollars in pledges will be awarded traveling trophies. Prizes will also be given to top individual fundraisers and will include, among others, 52 free Organic Valley products for a year, two tickets to American Players Theater, a Ride to Farm cyclist jersey, and a 2012 Trek 1.5 Compact H2 road bike.
The route includes rest breaks on two area farms where participants can sample locally produced cheese, milk and other treats. 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 opportunities, 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 www.cias.wisc.edu/dairysch.html.
Ride to Farm sponsors are as follows: Culver's Restaurants for coupons and promotional development; Organic Valley Farmer-Owned for fresh cheese and milk from their farms; Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board for ride T-shirts; Faith Technologies for local food and snacks at farm stops; and American Transmission Co., Family Dairies USA, Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association, We Energies, and Wisconsin Farmers Union for their continued generous support of WSBDF and Ride to Farm.