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DGA Wins 2015 Rural Development Award

Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship has been recognized with a 2015 Top Rural Development Initiative Award from Wisconsin Rural Partners, Inc.

April 07 2015

Rural Partners Contact: Ricky Rolfsmeyer, 608-967-2322,

Five exemplary projects selected for Wisconsin Top Rural Development Initiative honors

Hollandale - Wisconsin Rural Partners, Inc., a statewide non-profit corporation, will award the Top Rural Development Initiatives for 2015 at a ceremony at the Heidel House Resort and Spa in Green Lake Wisconsin on Thursday, April 23 at 1:30 PM. The awards will be presented by Wisconsin Rural Partners president Don Sidlowski and awards committee chairperson Coreen Fallat.

“Rural Partners received 29 nominations this year for these prestigious awards, and the competition was astounding,” said Rural Partners Executive Director Rick Rolfsmeyer. “The five initiatives selected by the judges are truly the cream of the crop, exemplifying the best of all the great things rural Wisconsin has to offer.”

The five efforts receiving Top Rural Development Initiative awards are:

Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship - Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship is the first accredited Apprenticeship for farming in the nation. The program is dedicated to providing a guided pathway to independent dairy farm ownership, developing grazing careers, and strengthening the economic and environmental well-being of rural communities and the dairy industry. Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship spun-off from the organization GrassWorks to become an independent nonprofit organization.

Baraboo Big Top Parade and Circus Celebration - The Baraboo Big Top Parade and Circus Celebration was first organized as a one-day event in 2013. It garnered the involvement of numerous community groups and businesses and drew a crowd of 10,000. By its second year, the event grew to four days of concerts, performances, special circus attractions and a circus-theme parade of more than 80 units. The parade drew 20,000 spectators and the celebration produced an estimated economic impact of $1.2 million.

Treasures of Oz and the Ozaukee County Treasures Network - These two organizations work in harmony to increase the capacity of member organizations in Ozaukee County to provide educational opportunities with an environmental focus. Treasures of Oz has over 100 active volunteers; the Ozaukee Treasures Network represents over 75 organizations, including federal, state, county and local agencies. Several educational workshops and events are conducted annually, including the Eco-Tour, which logs over 1,200 site visits annually to the well-known one-day event.

Wisconsin Rural Collaborative for Rural Graduate Medical Education - The need for more physicians, particularly primary care physicians, in rural Wisconsin is a longstanding, well-documented and critical need. The Wisconsin Rural Collaborative for Rural Medical Education is an organization formed to meet that need, and from its beginning in 2012 has become a dynamic organization with a spectacular growth and success rate. In just a couple of years the organization has grown from 9 to 28 members who receive technical assistance from the Collaborative as they work to actively pursue creation of resident training programs in rural areas.

Wormfarm Institute and Fermentation Fest - Through its programs the Wormfarm Institute works across disciplines to build new models for creative community development along the urban/rural continuum. Since 2011, Wormfarm's major initiative has been the annual Fermentation Fest, a 10-day celebration of “live culture” in all its forms, from dance to yogurt, poetry to sauerkraut, and includes as its centerpiece the Farm/Art DTour, a 50 mile self-guided drive through the countryside that features temporary art installations, roadside poetry, pasture performances, local food, and more. In 2014 The DTour brought between 15,000 and 17,000 visitors (DTourists) from 20 states and 5 countries to explore the region's culture and agriculture.

Wisconsin Rural Partners is a statewide non-profit organization that develops rural networks and leaders, and provides a voice for rural Wisconsin. WRP is the federally-recognized State Rural Development Council for Wisconsin.

For more information on the Wisconsin Rural Summit visit .

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