The WSBDF can give you the edge you need to succeed in the pasture-based dairy and livestock business. It is the only program of its kind in the nation, and your best resource for an education in pasture-based dairy and livestock farming.
The school has been designed to provide the opportunity for motivated individuals to educate themselves about pasture-based dairy and livestock farming. We offer our specialized training through traditional classroom activities, hands-on internships, and farm tours of pasture-based farms managed by successful graduates and mentors. We strongly emphasize the business and financial planning knowledge required to run a successful farm business. Classroom instruction at the school runs from the middle of November through the end of March — and some students participate in internships from April through July, though those dates are flexible.
A Strong Community
The University of Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers doesn’t just offer a world-class education in pasture-based dairy and livestock farming. We’re also in the business of making friends.
In fact, that’s the part of the school we’re the most proud of.
The school was created by a group of pasture-based dairy and livestock farmers who got together to share their experiences and help each other build successful farms. After the school was founded, that core group of farmers helped out by giving guest lectures during the Pasture-Based Dairy and Livestock Business Seminar, taking groups of students to their farms for pasture walks, and opening their homes and their families to students doing internships.
The spirit of community that was there when the school was founded never disappeared, and if anything it’s only grown stronger over the years as new graduates start their own farms, speak in our classes and give back to the school.
The School gives you access to a network of experienced pasture-based dairy and livestock farmers with a passion for helping new farmers get started. Years after your graduation, you’ll still be able to pick up the telephone and call the friends you made at the school – students and instructors – for advice, assistance, or even just to chat. By that time you may be one of our experts!
Course Options on Campus or around the State
The school has grown out of cooperation between the Farm and Industry Short Course program and the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a university considered by many to have the finest agricultural tradition of any institution in the country. Participating in the School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers gives you all the opportunities afforded any other student at the UW – including access to the top-notch athletic, library, and computer facilities on campus.
Most of our students participate in the School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers by taking the Pasture-Based Dairy or Livestock Specialty as part of their education through the Farm and Industry Short Course program. We also offer a certificate option if you only wish to participate in the Pasture-Based Dairy and Livestock Seminar as well as our internship opportunities.
A distance education option allows students to enroll and participate via live interactive webcast and audio feed at one of several other Wisconsin locations. A local facilitator leads the distance education seminar at each site, provides networking with area farmers and resource personnel, and may choose to conduct a discussion session after class each week. For other off-campus students who cannot make it to Madison or to the satellite locations, the WSBDF has all sessions available on CD-ROM.