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NEW GLARUS

Cyclists will ride through the rolling hills of Green County on Saturday, June 4 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 currently accepting registrations and pledges for its 13th annual Ride to Farm fundraiser. Cyclists can opt for a hilly 100K ride (about 62 miles) or a less hilly, half-day route of approximately 30 miles. The event starts and finishes at New Glarus Woods State Park, located at W5508 County Highway NN, New Glarus, WI.

'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-director of the WSBDF. 'We are grateful for contributions of any amount.'

Riders will receive an inspiring send-off at 8:30 a.m. by Dan Smith, DATCP Agricultural Development Division Administrator, retired dairy farmer and farm-life writer and poet. When the ride is over, the 68th Alice in Dairyland, Teyanna Loether — on her final day of her year as Alice — will present awards to the top fundraisers 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.

This year, some participants are dedicating their ride to the Ram and Jeremy Seibel Scholarship. Jeremy Seibel, a recent graduate of the Farm and Industry Short Course program, and his father, Ram, died in a farm accident last July. Family and friends established this scholarship in their name.

To participate, each rider must raise at least $75. Teams that collect the most pledges will receive traveling trophies. Prizes for top individual fundraisers include 52 free Organic Valley products for a year, dinner for two at L'Etoile restaurant, 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 WSBDF co-director Dick 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 the Truttmann Family Farm, a fifth generation dairy that turns its milk into Swiss cheese. Dan Truttmann is one of the co-founders of WSBDF and farms just outside of New Glarus, Wisconsin. In the afternoon, riders will rest at the Paris Family Farm, a small grazing dairy transitioning to organic. Bert Paris is another co-founder of the WBSDF and farms in Belleville, Wisconsin.

The ride will culminate with an awards ceremony followed by snacks and refreshment at the shelter in New Glarus Woods State Park.

The Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers, which emphasizes managed grazing, provides aspiring farmers with classroom instruction, on-farm internships, business planning and mentoring. Students from across the state are able to 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.

2016 Ride to Farm sponsors include: American Transmission Co., Badgerland Financial, Culver's Restaurants, Organic Valley Farmer-Owned, Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association, Wisconsin Farmers Union and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

For more information about Ride to Farm, contact Nadia Alber at nalber@wisc.edu or (608) 265-6437, or visit ridetofarm.dojiggy.com.

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