USA Today: Farm & Industry Short Course turns teen’s budding interest into a career path

Joe Powalisz is a city kid, but he sees a farm in his future.

Powalisz found his calling during a high school apprenticeship at Meadow Brook Dairy, a farm about 10 miles from his home. Soon he’ll deepen his farming knowledge at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Farm & Industry Short Course (FISC), a 16-week series of lectures and hands-on classes taught by experts from the agriculture industry.

“I didn’t grow up on a farm, I just had an interest in it,” Powalisz explained in a recent article in USA Today and Wisconsin State Farmer.

The 18-year-old Manitowoc resident’s mom works at a deli and his dad at a public utility. As a kid, his closest connection to farming was the food on the dinner table.

Agricultural ambitions

Meadow Brook has given Powalisz a taste of many farming tasks, so he’s confident he can take his skills to the next level.

“I started out just milking cows. Now, I’m doing a little bit of everything. I can do just about any job on the farm,” he told USA Today and Wisconsin State Farmer.

More than 130 years strong, FISC prepares current and future farmers for a wide variety of agricultural jobs. Graduates find work as farm technicians, crop assistants, feeders, milkers, farm managers, and more. Plus, students can customize the program to fit their needs with courses in areas such as soils, crops, dairy, meat animals, agricultural engineering, agribusiness, farm business planning, and communications.

In addition to increasing their value in the job market, FISC students participate in university traditions during the program, which spans late fall, winter, and early spring. Whether cheering for the Badgers at basketball games or enjoying movies and music at the Memorial Union’s Bavarian-style Rathskeller, they get a true UW-Madison experience.

For more information on FISC, see here.

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