Farm Tours Helps Students and Farmers Flourish
A group gathers around a goat at the Liberation Farm Tour. Photo courtesy of Brooke Bembeneck.

Farm Tours Helps Students and Farmers Flourish

Harvesting season is here and Students for Sustainability has begun their Farm Tour Series, which helps students learn about local farms.

The event focuses on sustainable agriculture. Students visit local farms, learn new techniques and gain hands on experience.

Shelly Stein, the president of Students for Sustainability, said “the farmer’s talk about the history of their land and share how their operation has altered or restored the landscape. They give us introductions to techniques they’ve learned over the years to maximize their farm’s efficiency and yield, while maintaining the ecological integrity of their land.”

Individuals at the Liberation Farm Tour. Photo courtesy of Brooke Bembeneck.

The experience is brought to a new level by allowing tour members to participate in farming. In the past, the club has planted, weeded, winterized beds, and harvested crops. Due to each farm being a small business, the help is often valuable to the farmer and to the tourist, who is gaining a valuable experience.

“I’d like the students attending the farm tours to know that the opportunities are out there. The local farm community in Central Wisconsin is strong and welcoming, so we’re already at an advantage,” said Stein.

With all of the tours completed now, the group went to Milladore, Wis. last to tour Lonely Oak Farm, this past weekend on Oct. 14, to work with their organic vegetable produce, hybrid sheep and Wagyu beef cattle.

In addition to having the opportunity to work hands-on with a variety of farms, students will also get to meet and interact with people who are knowledgeable in their field, such as grazing specialist, Joel Kuehnhold, and UWSP alumna, Taylor Christiansen, who graduated with a land use planning major.

Christiansen said, “My hope is to make it as easy as possible for students with the smallest amount of curiosity to discover the values I’ve discovered in sustainable agriculture.…The Farm Tour Series is my way of spreading education, opportunity and career training in the UWSP community.”

The organization has high hopes that the event will continue for years to come. Check with Students for Sustainability to find out what similar opportunities are still ahead this semester.

Kallie Fowler

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