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200-mile Antigo-to-Madison bike ride will raise funds to educate beginning dairy and livestock farmers

On June 10th, a couple of dozen intrepid bicyclists will pump up their tires and roll out of the driveway of a farm northwest of Antigo to begin the 4th annual Ride to Farm.

They have two objectives. One is to ride the 200-mile ride to Madison in time for a June 12 appearance at the state FFA convention. The other goal – the real purpose of the trip – is to raise endowment funds and awareness for the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers.

To reach the first objective, they”ll need good bikes, good maps, energy bars, spare tubes and maybe a handful of ibuprofen. To reach the second objective, they”re collecting pledges and encouraging the public to meet them at stops along the way.

Along the route they”ll be visiting farms operated by graduates of the WSBDF, a University of Wisconsin-Madison program that offers classroom instruction, on-farm internships, business planning and lifetime mentoring. About 230 students have attended the program, which is taught by UW-Madison faculty, successful farmers, lenders and other agribusiness professionals. Three-quarters of School”s graduates are actively farming.

The program is a collaboration between the Center for Integrated Agricultural and the Farm and Industry Short Course, both part of the UW-Madison”s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

On June 10 the riders will gather for a 9 a.m. kickoff event and 10 a.m. departure at the farm of Alex and Tricia Crockford, Deerbrook. The Crockfords 1998 WSBDF graduates. Around 11 a.m., they”ll drop by a farm in Aniwa operated by 2004 graduate Carly Blado. After overnighting in Waupaca, on Monday the group will ride to Wautoma for lunch at the local Culver”s restaurant. On Tuesday, they”ll ride from Portage to the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, site of the annual state FFA convention.

School and Ride sponsors include: American Transmission Co., Culver”s Franchising, FCS- Financial Services, FCS WI, Organic Valley Family of Farms, Sue and Roland G. Stephenson Family Foundation, and the WI Milk Marketing Board.

Supporters can make a pledge by contacting Carol Chapa at the UW Foundation at (608) 265-4049 or carol.chapa@uwfoundation.wisc.edu or downloading a pledge form at www.cias.wisc.edu/dairysch.html.

For more information on the ride or the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Lifestock Producers, contact Director Dick Cates at (608) 588-2836 or assistant director Jennifer Taylor at (608) 265-7914

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2007 RIDE TO FARM SCHEDULE

Sunday, June 10th.
? 9 a.m. – Kickoff event, farm of Alex and Tricia Crockford (graduated WSBDF, 1998), W 12180 Cty. Rd. I, Deerbrook.
? 10 a.m. departure and bike 15 miles
? 11 a.m. (approximately) – Riders stop by Ron Zimmerman/Bev Krejci farm, 2767 Nolan Rd., Aniwa, operated by 2004 WSBDF graduate Carly Blado
? Continue south 60 miles to stop for the night in Waupaca.

Monday, June 11
? Bike 25 miles to Wautoma.
? 10:30 a.m.-noon. Lunch and meet-the-media stop at Culver”s restaurant, 100 N. Century Dr.
? Ride 50 miles to Portage.

Tuesday, June 12
? 9:30 a.m. – Depart from Best Western Hotel, 2701 Hwy CX, Portage accompanied by UW Hoofers cyclists and other Madison area riders and bike 50 miles
? Early afternoon – Arrive at annual State FFA Convention, Alliant Energy Center, Madison (at John Nolen and Rimrock Rd., near beltline)
? 3:30 p.m. – Merle Richter presentation and riders introduced to full FFA conference