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UW-Richland Farm Collaboration Meeting

Two-year colleges, UW-Richland and UW-Baraboo/Sauk County, will become branch campuses of UW-Platteville on July 1st as part of a collaborative integration plan announced by UW System President Ray Cross in November.

Representatives from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and University of Wisconsin-Richland met last Friday (March 2) to explore new possibilities in agricultural education once the collaboration between the two campuses begins. Officials from both campuses emphasized that the meeting was a good step in exploring what each agriculture program features and the possibilities the collaborative approach could offer. All expressed optimism over the joint ventures, which could make use of the 430-acre Pioneer Farm outside of Platteville and the 192-acre UW-Richland Smart Farm outside of Richland Center.

“UW-Richland is strategically positioned in the agriculture field, and we have a strong agricultural program,” said Dr. Wayne Weber, dean of UW-Platteville’s College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture. “We see the potential in agriculture. The overall vision is looking at an associate degree or associate degree in applied agriculture. We have two main goals. One, we’re going to establish a clear direction towards a four-year UW-Platteville Bachelor of Science. Two, for the students who do not wish to pursue the bachelor’s degree, we want to make sure they develop a skill set that will provide immediate value to the agriculture industry.”

UW Extension Agricultural Agent Adam Hady said attracting more students to agriculture programs would benefit more than just the campuses’ enrollments. Dr. Brandon Fetterly, associate professor of chemistry and acting associate dean for academic affairs at UW-Richland and UW-Baraboo/Sauk County, agreed that the success of these programs would enhance the agriculture reputation of the region.

UW-Platteville offers seven agriculture majors: agribusiness, ag education, animal science, dairy science, environmental horticulture, reclamation and environmental conservation, and soil and crop science. Among ideas discussed were short-course programs offered at the Richland campus that would be open to both UW-Platteville and UW-Richland students, establishing goat herds in Richland Center, increased participation in the 18 UW-Platteville student organizations such as the Soil and Crops Team, the Dairy Judging Team and more.

Dr Rami Reddy, director of UW-Platteville’s School of Agriculture, added “by listening to all the stakeholders we like to build the curriculum for the associates by taking into consideration the unique nature and needs at UW-Richland. Very strong local agricultural industries are a great plus for this campus. We certainly will seek input from the industry and local stakeholders while developing the curriculum.”

More meetings will be scheduled to maximize the new collaborative opportunities between the institutions.