Midwest School for Beginning Grape Growers

Date: March 29-31, 2015
Location: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Loving of the Land Concert

Date: April 11, 2015, 7:30pm
Location: UW-Madison Music Hall

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CIAS Mini-Grants Support Graduate Student Research in Sustainable Agriculture

CIAS supports innovative graduate student research addressing the challenges faced by small- and medium-sized farms and food businesses. Awarded annually, our competitive mini-grants aid students as they initiate their research in sustainable agriculture and food systems.

CIAS Eco-Fruit Program Receives Wisconsin Idea Award

Since 2000, the CIAS Eco-Fruit program has been helping growers reduce or eliminate risk from pesticides by using IPM. Participating growers have reduced their pesticide risk by 46 percent and increased their reliance on IPM strategies by 54 percent.


Service Learning in South Africa

CIAS Director Mike Bell and ten UW-Madison students are spending part of their winter break in South Africa. Bell is leading the students in a service learning course on the agroecology of health.

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Ride to Farm 2012

Date: [unknown]

Location: [unknown]

Posted May 2012


Dozens of cyclists will be riding through the rolling hills of rural Dane and Green counties on Saturday, June 2 in support of the next generation of dairy and livestock farmers.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers is recruiting riders and pledges for its ninth annual Ride to Farm fundraiser. Cyclists can opt for a 64-mile (103K) all-day ride or shorter morning and afternoon rides. The ride begins and ends at Dane County’s Goodland Park with a mid-day stop in New Glarus, an optional lunch at Culver’s Restaurant and rest stops on farms along the way. Kate VandenBosch, Dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, will send off the riders at 8:40am.

“We hold this event both to raise funds for scholarships and general program activities, and also 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.”

Pledges for individual riders and teams, as well as general contributions to the WSBDF, can be made at the Ride to Farm website:

Riders can sign up, solicit donors and track pledges on the Ride to Farm website. Participants can ride either as individuals or in teams. Each rider must raise at least $75 in pledges. Rider teams that collect the highest pledge amounts will be awarded traveling trophies. Prizes will also be given to top individual fundraisers and will include 52 free Organic Valley products for a year, two tickets to American Players Theater, a Ride to Farm jersey and a 2012 Trek 1.5 Compact H2 road bike.

The route includes rest breaks on two area farms where participants can sample locally produced cheese, milk and other treats. The morning stop is at the Brooklyn farm of Ruth and Joel McNair, publishers of GRAZE magazine. In the afternoon, riders will stop at the farm of Bert and Trish Paris in Belleville, who have mentored several WSBDF interns. The ride will culminate with an award ceremony at 3:00 pm followed by a potluck picnic at Goodland Park.

WSBDF provides aspiring farmers with classroom instruction, on-farm internships, and business planning and mentoring opportunities, with an emphasis on managed grazing. Most students attend class in Madison, but many participate from classrooms around the state through a combination of local instruction and video links to Madison. The 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. Instructors include UW-Madison faculty, graduates of the program, mentor farmers, farm lenders and other agribusiness professionals.

For more information, visit

Many thanks to our Ride to Farm sponsors: Culver’s Restaurants for coupons and promotional development; Organic Valley Farmer-Owned for fresh cheese and milk from their farms; Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board for ride t-shirts; Faith Technologies for local food and snacks at farm stops; and American Transmission Co., Family Dairies USA, Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association, We Energies and Wisconsin Farmers Union for their continued generous support of the WSBDF and Ride to Farm.

For more information, contact Dick Cates: 608-588-2836,