Senator Kohl visits UW-Platteville Pioneer Farm

August 12, 2005

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PLATTEVILLE - U.S. Senator Herb Kohl visited the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneer Farm on Aug. 8 to highlight the research and educational programming underway there. As a member of the Appropriations Committee and ranking member of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Kohl has been instrumental in securing funding for a number of UW-Platteville agricultural, business development and educational initiatives.

Chancellor David Markee opened the forum by welcoming Kohl, along with state and local government officials, representatives from state agencies, members of the media and UWP faculty and staff. He thanked Kohl for his support.

Duane Ford, dean of the College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture (BILSA), focused his remarks on the Wisconsin Agriculture Stewardship Initiative (WASI), which Senator Kohl has continued to support. The UWP Pioneer Farm is one of three components of the WASI. "The purpose of the WASI is to measure the effects of agricultural systems on the environment, and to test new approaches intended to improve the environmental and economic performance of these systems. The information developed will help farmers, policy-makers and citizens," he said.

Kohl said he appreciated the work of the farm and plans to continue supporting Wisconsin agricultural research and educational efforts as long as he is in Congress. In the last budget, he worked with other legislators to secure $300,000 for applied research at the farm. "We've worked hard to promote conservation technology, rural business development, the MILC program, and many programs of that ilk. I'm glad to have the opportunity to hear about the great work you're doing, hear your recommendations, and then go back to do my work with zeal," Kohl said. The The Milk Income Loss Contract Program (MILC) pays money to dairy farmers as a safety net when the market price drops to a certain point.

Pat Leavenworth of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service also spoke about the importance of UWP's research efforts. "In order to make farming compatible with conservation, we need universities to be trying things out on the land and then be able to transfer that technology to appropriate landowners. What's occurring at Pioneer Farm is critical to maintaining Wisconsin's strong conservationist traditions," she said. Chancellor Markee also thanked Senator Kohl for his support of the UW-Platteville online teacher certification program and Rural Business Enhancement Center (RBEC).

Kohl secured $100,000 in the last budget to provide an online teacher preparation curricula for people currently employed with emergency licenses in schools or seeking an alternative method for obtaining licensure because they are time or place bound. There are currently over 1,100 teachers in the state who are employed on emergency licenses and in need of full certification.

Alison Bunte, director of the School of Education, said the funding is crucial to UW-Platteville's continuing effort to prepare excellent teachers for the state's K-12 schools. "The first group of teachers recently completed the program. It was exciting to see the passion and commitment to teaching that they have developed through the Alternative Licensure Program. The money that Senator Kohl secured for UWP will enable us to expand the program and serve even more students. We are very grateful for his support," said Bunte.

Additionally, with Kohl again securing funding, UW-Platteville established the RBEC in 2004. The RBEC promotes innovation in the industries of Southwestern Wisconsin in two ways. It provides competitive grants to regional firms for business planning and product or technology development. This month, the RBEC will award $138,000 in grants. It also attempting to develop, on speculation, business plans of importance to the region and then to transfer this intellectual property to private investors and managers. The first project using this novel approach is a national restaurant franchise dedicated to Wisconsin's specialty and artisan foods. Anyone interested in learning more about UW-Platteville initiatives and programs may visit the website at www.uwplatt.edu/.

Contact: Duane Ford, dean, College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture, (608) 342-1547, fordd@uwplatt.edu Prepared By: Evelyn Martens, UWP Public Relations, (608) 342-1194, martense@uwplatt.edu

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