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Last Chance to Enroll in School for Beginning Farmers Courses
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 10/11/2012

The deadline to sign up for the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers at one of its distance education classrooms is just around the corner. The program hopes to offer its distance education program at 15 sites around the state this year, but at least three students must sign up for a site for the program to be offered there.

The distance classrooms are designed for students who aren't able to attend class in Madison. Each classroom will have video and audio links to the school's weekly seminar in Madison, but will also have an on-site instructor and feature guest lectures by local grazing specialists, farm lenders and experienced farmers. Students also tour local farms and have opportunities to participate in internships and industry conferences.

"Our students consistently tell us that these opportunities to talk to farmers, especially young graduates of the WSBDF who are succeeding in dairy and livestock farming, is one of most valuable parts of the program," says Program Director Dick Cates.

The WSBDF curriculum covers all aspects of business planning, from farm selection, design and remodeling to animal and pasture management. About three-fourths of those who graduated from WSBDF since 1996 are now farming. Of those, about half started their own farm enterprise or new farm business.

The school is offered through the UW-Madison Farm and Industry Short Course. The 15-week course begins November 8 and meets every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. through March 21. The class meets Tuesday, November 20 during Thanksgiving week and takes a four-week break in late December and January.

Tuition and fees vary by site, number of credits earned and how the student enrolls. Typically, students who take the class at an off-campus site pay between $200 and $300. Students who want to earn a certificate of completion or 1-3 college credits pay the per-credit fee charged by the institution.

The deadline for applications for the distance sites is November 1. Some scholarships are available.

To get application materials to attend the WSBDF on the Madison campus, or to get more information about any aspect of the program, call 608-265-6437.

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