Dairy and Livestock


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The Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers: Keeping the Dream of Farming Alive

As older farmers retire, fewer young farmers are stepping in to take their place. The number of beginning farmers dropped 20 percent in the last five-year census period, and the average US farmer now tops 58 years of age. more

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. more


Announcing the 2019 Market Farm Madness Champion!

Hoophouse is your 2019 Market Farm Madness champion! They withstood high winds, late snow storms and controversy over cost share payments to win the tournament. more

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The Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers can give you the edge you need to succeed in the pasture-based dairy and livestock industries. It is the only program of its kind in the nation. We offer our specialized training through traditional classroom activities, hands-on internships, and farm tours. 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 our students typically participate in internships from April through July. For more information, visit the school's website.

Nurturing the Next Generation of Wisconsin’s Dairy Farmers

New dairy farmers often face high start-up costs for land, equipment and facilities. Volatile milk prices, long hours and hard work reduce the appeal of a career in dairy farming. To better understand the start-up strategies used by beginning dairy farmers, a research team surveyed 321 beginning dairy farmers in 1996. They also conducted in […] more

Starting—and succeeding—as a Wisconsin dairy farmer (Research Brief #56)

You don’t need to take over a family farm, or even grow up on a farm, to be a successful dairy farmer in Wisconsin. You can milk 50 or 150 cows, and you can own or rent land. But you do need to identify how well your experience, financial resources, and farming support networks can […] more

Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy Farmers (Research Brief #37)

Wisconsin has suffered dramatic losses in numbers of dairy farms. While the decrease in part includes large numbers of retiring dairy farmers, the lack of young people entering dairy farming is an even more significant factor in the decline. To reverse that trend a creative approach is needed to make dairy farming more attractive. The […] more

Sharemilking in Wisconsin: evaluating a farm entry/exit strategy (Research Brief #34)

In a sharemilking agreement, a young farmer operates a farm on behalf of the farm owner for an agreed share of farm income and expenses. The arrangement offers young farmers a way to build assets and dairy management skills without requiring a large amount of capital input at the beginning of their careers. A long-standing […] more

New Zealand’s dairy career path: could it work in Wisconsin? (Research Brief #33)

Dairy farming is a solid career choice, offering good status and pay, a high quality of life, and well-defined training and career paths. That’s the message to New Zealand high school students from technical schools, the national dairy apprentice program, and the dairy industry. And dairy training and career opportunities there not only open the […] more

Dairy farmer career paths: getting in, out, and by (Research Brief #26)

The experiences of New Zealand’s dairy farmers may help their colleagues in Wisconsin boost the state’s dairy industry. That’s the conclusion of a study on dairy farmer career paths sponsored by the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS). New Zealand historically has attracted young people into farming through dairy industry leadership efforts and the creation […] more

Dairy farmer career paths

This report is based on observations of dairy farmer career structures in New Zealand gathered during a field trip to that country in the spring of 1995. These observations are evaluated for their relevance to Wisconsin’s declining rates of farm entry and the constricted options for farm exit for many Wisconsin dairy families. The report’s […] more
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