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

May 20, 2014

Dozens of cyclists will be riding through the rolling hills of Iowa and Sauk counties on Saturday, May 31 to support the next generation of dairy and livestock farmers.


Ride to Farm offers cyclists a chance to enjoy the rural countryside and benefit the School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers (WSBDF) is signing up riders and pledges for its 11th annual Ride to Farm fundraiser. Cyclists can opt for a hilly (52-mile, 1,500-foot elevation rise) or hillier (55-mile, 2,150-foot rise) all-day route or shorter morning and afternoon rides. The event starts and finishes at Birch Lake Park in Iowa County with a mid-day stop at Culver’s Restaurant in Spring Green and rest stops on farms along the way.

“Fabulous Farm Babe” Pam Jahnke of the Wisconsin Farm Report will give the riders a send-off at 8:30 a.m. Alice in Dairyland Kristin Olson will hand out awards to top money-raisers at the end of the ride.

“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 WSBDF Director Dick Cates. “We are grateful for contributions of any amount.”

Riders can sign up, solicit donors and track pledges here. Supporters can go to the same site to pledge or make contributions to WSBDF. Cyclists can ride as individuals or in teams.

Each rider must raise at least $75. Teams that collect the most pledges will receive traveling trophies. Prizes for top individual fundraisers include a 2014 Trek road bike, 52 free Organic Valley products for a year, two tickets to American Players Theater and a Ride to Farm jersey.

The route includes rest breaks on two area farms where riders can sample locally produced cheese, milk and other treats provided by farm families and the River Valley FFA.

The morning stop is north of Dodgeville at Grass Dairy, the home of Uplands Cheese, where WSBDF graduates have interned and started their farming careers. The afternoon stop is at south of Spring Green at Cates Family Farm owned and operated by Dick and Kim Cates. The ride will culminate with 3 p.m. awards ceremony followed by a potluck picnic at Birch Lake Park.