Richard (Dick) L. Cates, Jr., Ph.D., and his wife, Kim, co-own and operate the Cates Family Farm near Spring Green, Wisconsin, a managed grazing farm that has been in the family since 1967. The Cates family raises grass-fed beef and sells directly to restaurants, stores and households.
Dick holds a faculty position in the Department of Soil Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is director of the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers, a program for training and mentoring start-up farmers which he helped create in 1995. He also co-teaches courses in grassland- and agro- ecology.
Dick serves an appointment by US Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns to the USDA Advisory Council for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. He also serves as a member of the River Valley School Board and the Spring Green Lions Club. In addition, Dick works internationally as a volunteer consultant with farmer-to-farmer assistance projects, most recently in Azerbaijan, China, Honduras and Moldova.
His first book, “Voices from the Heart of the Land: rural stories that inspire community” (2007; The Guest Cottage Books), is conversations with elder rural citizens that communicate the value set of our forebears around land, community, and character in America.
Dick counts his good fortune in the abundance of the farm, the love of his family and friends, and in the opportunity to determine one’s own destiny in a free and democratic country.