Madison Area Technical College gained 165 workable acres of farm property under a lease agreement with John and Dorothy Priske, owners of Fountain Prairie Farm in Fall River.
The property provides a classroom and hands-on laboratory for students in several agriculture-related programs such as Agriculture Systems Management, Sustainable Farm to Table and Veterinary Technician. In addition, the college will create a farm business incubator through land rental and support services to beginning farmers.
This spring, the college will offer professional development workshops at the site on topics such as farm finance, managed grazing and many others.
The property is currently in long-term pasture used for managed intensive grazing. According to Randy Zogbaum, agriculture instructor, the farm could also provide pasture rental for new farmers who want to start a managed grazing meat production business with college staff providing mentoring and advice.
“We would be there to support them and give them the skills to be successful,” Zogbaum said. “We want to use our partnerships to help promote farming as a way of life and provide a pathway to that career.”
Animals raised at the Fountain Prairie Education Farm could be used by Madison College Culinary Arts program students who can to learn sustainable food production and modern meat processing.