Annie’s Project

Carol Schneider, CEED, Plymouth County


Managing risks on an Iowa farm is a skill and tool that can often make or break the success of the farm operation.  While some farm women may take an active role in the farm business on a daily basis, many do not. Many farm women feel poorly equipped to communicate with their partner.   One of their biggest fears as a farm wife is that if something happens to their mate (death) they feel poorly equipped to assume the management role of the family farm business.


Plymouth County Extension borrowed the proven program called Annie’s Project and offered it to women in Plymouth County and surrounding counties.  While the program was developed by Illinois Extension, it could easily be replicated in Northwest Iowa.  The problems and the solutions in Annie’s Project are universal for rural women.  The six part program was offered with three hour evening sessions.  Because of participant interest, an additional optional session was offered with more than half the class electing to participate.  Educational material was presented by ISU Extension Field Specialists while local resources were brought in as guest speakers including a banker, insurance agent, FSA agency staff, and attorneys.  Many of the speakers were women.  The premise of the evening program was women gathered for a light meal, pushed their plates away and then learned from educators and one another.


Crystal Jauer said:  “I truly believe that women need a place and/or network to come together and become educated and feel 110% confident about their decisions. I believe that education and knowledge are priceless and what a better place to come together with others that are in the same situation as you are. I have learned a tremendous amount while attending Annie’s Project that I will take back to the farm and implement and I’m very excited to be a part of this ever-changing agricultural industry.”

Others said: “When the opportunity arises, I’ll be able to talk about certain aspects of farming with confidence that I know what I’m talking about.” “I appreciated the fact that Plymouth County Extension thought this program was worthy enough to bring to our county and make it available to farm women.” “I believe it is extremely important to be as involved as possible in your own farming operation because you never know what tomorrow will bring!

22 Women decision-makers and leaders

Page last updated: September 3, 2008
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