Farm women have always been an integral part of any farm operation. But the numbers show that the role of women in farming continues to grow in Iowa.
The most recent USDA Census of Agriculture shows that nearly one-quarter of Iowa's farm operators are women. That's nearly 33,000 women. And even more women are involved in related agribusiness operations.
"We expect that number to keep growing," says Melissa O'Rourke, Farm & Agribusiness Management Specialist in northwest Iowa.
"That's why Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering Annie's Project to farm women at two locations in northwest Iowa," says O'Rourke.
O'Rourke describes Annie's Project as a six-week program "intended to educate and empower farm women to be better business partners by managing and organizing critical information, improving decision-making skills, and networking with other farm women."
The program starts on Monday, March 17 in Graettinger at the Starnet/River Valley Telephone Coop in Graettinger.
The class meets for six consecutive evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. with a light supper served at 5:30 p.m.
The registration fee is $75 for the 18-hour program and includes all materials as well as the light supper. Class size is limited to 25 women at each location.
Annie's Project is a farm management risk education program designed for women and facilitated by women agriculture professionals. Sessions include brief presentations and extended discussions with women agriculture professionals on topics of importance to participants' future in agribusiness.
"The program is named after Annie Fleck, a farm wife from Illinois," says O'Rourke. "Annie's Project recognizes that the unique learning preferences of women often are not served through traditional farm management education programs."
Topics covered include building and understanding farm financial statements, grain marketing, crop and farm business insurance, farm tax and accounting issues, legal liability and employment issues, transition, estate and financial planning.
"Additional topics are addressed depending on the needs and interests of the group," says O'Rourke.
Annie's Project is funded in part by a grant from the USDA/FCIC Risk Management Agency and is also supported by Farm Credit Services of America.
For more information about the Graettinger program, contact the Palo Alto County Extension office at (712) 852-2865 or email Angie Strohman at email@example.com . More information and on-line registration is available at www.aep.iastate.edu/annie.
For more information or to register for the program, call Melissa O'Rourke at the Sioux County Extension Office (712-737-4230) or email
firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a flyer and registration form.