Cyclists will ride through the rolling hills of Green County on Saturday, June 3 to support the next generation of dairy and livestock farmers.
UW-Madison’s Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers (WSBDF) is currently accepting registrations and pledges for its 14th annual Ride to Farm fundraiser. Cyclists can opt for a hilly 100K ride (about 62 miles), an easier route of approximately 50 miles, or a less hilly, half-day route of around 30 miles. The event starts and finishes at New Glarus Woods State Park, located at W5508 CTH NN, New Glarus, Wis.
“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. from Joe Tomandl, Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Executive Director and organic dairy farmer. When the ride is over, the 69th Alice in Dairyland, Ann O’Leary, will present awards to the top fundraisers during a short ceremony. The ceremony will begin at approximately 3:30 p.m.
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.
Each rider must raise at least $75. Teams that collect the most pledges will receive traveling trophies. Prizes for top individual fundraisers include a Trek 1.2 road bike, 52 free Organic Valley products for a year, 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 Morning Dew Dairy, a 100-cow certified organic grazing dairy near Argyle. Samantha, a graduate of the WSBDF, and her husband Don, a second-generation farmer, transitioned the farm to organics in 2007. The milk is marketed through the Organic Valley cooperative. The afternoon stop is at Green Fire Farm, a 150-cow, sixth generation, 100% grass-fed beef farm in Monticello, Wis. The father-son team of Jim and Jacob Marty are transitioning their 400-acre, conventional dairy and row crop farm into a pasture-based, diversified livestock operation.
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.
2017 Ride to Farm sponsors include: Badgerland Financial, Culver’s Restaurants, Farm First Dairy Cooperative, Organic Valley, Wisconsin Farmers Union and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.