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Ride to Farm seeks cyclists, pledges to support UW beginning farmer school

Cyclists will ride through the rolling hills of Green County on Saturday, June 4th to support the next generation of dairy and livestock farmers.

Photo courtesy of UW–Madison School for Beginning 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 18th annual Ride to Farm fundraiser. Cyclists can opt for a hilly 100K ride (about 60 miles), or a less hilly, approximately 30-mile, half-day route. The event starts and finishes at New Glarus Woods State Park, located at W5508 CTH NN, New Glarus, Wisconsin.

“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 Nadia Alber, director of the WSBDF. “We are grateful for contributions of any amount.”

Individual riders and teams can sign up, solicit donations and track pledges at go.dojiggy.io/ridetofarm. Supporters can go to the same site to pledge riders or make contributions directly to the WSBDF. 

Each rider must raise at least $100. Teams that collect the most pledges will receive traveling trophies. Prizes for top individual fundraisers include a Trek 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 Dick Cates, founder of WSBDF.

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 Frei, a graduate of the WSBDF, and her husband Don Frei, 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 percent grass-fed beef farm in Monticello, WI. Jacob Marty and Carly Epping 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, and business planning and mentoring. Students from across the state are able to participate in the program via distance education sites. The WSBDF program is part of the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems in the UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. 

2022 Ride to Farm sponsors include: Compeer Financial, Culver’s Restaurants, Organic Valley Farmer-Owned, and the Wisconsin Farmers Union. 

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