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Apply for School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers by April 1

Prospective dairy and livestock farmers have until April 1 to apply for admission to the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“We”re looking for bright, motivated individuals who dream of starting their own pasture-based dairy or livestock business,” said school director Dick Cates. “We”re a one-of-a-kind program that offers financial support, classroom learning, seminars taught by farmers and researchers, help with business plans, internships, and mentoring to help launch successful businesses.”

Students admitted to the school will attend the UW-Madison Farm and Industry Short Course and participate in sessions and seminars focused on the management of grazing-based dairy or livestock farms. Students are mentored by experienced graziers, successful business leaders and university faculty and staff. On-farm internships are available.

“Our internships give students an opportunity to work alongside veteran Wisconsin farmers who serve as teachers and mentors. Past students have followed a variety of paths, including apprenticeships, equity-building arrangements and their own business start-ups,” he says.

A variety of scholarships are available. Those interested in scholarships must apply by April 1. Registrations received after that date will be accepted until the school is filled.

For those who aren”t able to make the trip to Madison, there are opportunities to participate in the 15-week pasture-based dairy and livestock seminar at several distance-education sites around the state. Current distance education sites include UW-Marathon, Wausau and MATC- Reedsburg, but a list of additional sites will be available around Sept. 1. For information on the Wausau site contact Tom Cadwallader, Lincoln/Marathon Co UW-Extension, at 715-536 0304 or 715-261 1240 or thomas.cadwallader@ces.uwex.edu. For information on the Reedsburg site contact Doug Marshall at 608-524 7727 or dmarshall@matcmadison.edu

The 15-week pasture-based dairy and livestock seminar is also available on a CD set, which can be purchased for $115 including shipping.

To order the CD, register for the school or get more information, visit the program website at www.cias.wisc.edu/dairysch.html, call the WSBDF office at (608) 265 6437, or mail a request to Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy & Livestock Farmers, CIAS, 1535 Observatory Dr., UW-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706. Questions can be directed to Dick Cates at 608-588-2836 or rlcates@wisc.edu, or Jennifer Taylor at 608-265-7914 or jtaylor4@wisc.edu.

The school is sponsored by the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UW-Madison Farm and Industry Short Course, and the USDA NRCS Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, in cooperation with Grass Works, Inc.; Cooperative Extension, UW-Extension; the Wisconsin Technical College System; and the Farm Link Service of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

The WSBDF depends on private contributions to support student scholarships, internship stipends, student conference/workshop attendance, and to compensate farmer-speakers for the grass-based dairy and livestock seminar.