Richard (Dick) L. Cates, Jr., Ph.D., and his wife, Kim, along with son, Eric and daughter-in-law, Kiley co-own and operate the Cates Family Farm LLC near Spring Green, Wisconsin, a managed grazing, direct-market grass-fed beef business they started in 1987. Dick holds a Senior Lecturer position in the Department of Soil Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is director of the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers, a business and training program for start-up farmers which he helped create in 1995, and he co-teaches courses in grassland- and agro- ecology, pasture management, and managed grazing.
Dick previously served on the Town of Wyoming Plan Commission, WI DATCP Board of Directors and the USDA Secretary’s Advisory Council for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. He presently serves on the River Valley School Board of Education (recent past President), and on the Boards of Directors for the Southwest WI Community Action Program and the Driftless Area Land Conservancy. He is a member of the WI Farm Bureau Federation, Farmers Union and Cattlemen’s Association, River Alliance of WI, GrassWorks, Friends of the Lower WI Riverway, Aldo Leopold Foundation, and Spring Green Lions Club (2017-2018 President).
He has worked internationally as a volunteer consultant with farmer-to-farmer assistance projects, most recently in Azerbaijan, China, Honduras, Mexico, Moldova, and South Africa, and previously (1980s) in Saudi Arabia and Sharjah, UAE. His book, Voices from the Heart of the Land: Rural Stories that Inspire Community (2008; University of Wisconsin Press), is based on conversations with elder rural citizens around their values about character and care for our land and rural community. The Cates family was recognized with the 2013 Sand County Foundation and WI Farm Bureau Federation Leopold Conservation Award for Wisconsin, and in 2016 with the Wisconsin Master Agriculturist recognition.