Annie’s Program Provides Conduit for Learning

Name and Position/Title: 
James Jensen
Fiscal Year Submitted: 
POW Title and Number: 
POW 123   Women Decision Makers and Leaders
Annie’s Program Provides Conduit for Learning

Issue (Who cares and Why):
Many people become landowners by chance and not by choice.  It is one thing to look for a land investment and purchase it but many people either inherit land or are pushed into helping relatives handle land ownership responsibilities.  Often these so called land managers have little experience with land management and are not prepared for the responsibilities of that position.  The situation is more complicated when the land tenant is a relative and the manager or owner is a female.  People tend to feel that the tenant will look out for both the owners and tenant’s interest if they just let things ride.

What Did You Do? (Outputs – these may include educational meetings, demonstrations or research, media, facilitating, partnering)
Farm Management Specialists for Iowa State University Extension have conducted a program called “Annie’s Project” that provides risk management education for farm women.  The project is designed to empower farmwomen to manage information systems used in critical decision making processes and to build local networks throughout the state of Iowa.  The target audience is farmwomen with a passion for business and involvement in agriculture.  The program helps both women on an operating farm and those that manage land investments.

Results (Outcomes – was there a increase in knowledge, new skills learned, new decisions made, new practices implemented, increased profitability, new standards, enhanced quality of life)
The ISU Farm Management Specialist in SE Iowa has run six Annie’s Programs in the last five years and is starting to see the results of the educational and empowering process.  An example of the success associated with this program was seen when  former Annie’s participant was visited and interviewed about how things had changed over the last few years since taking the program.  The participants were a middle aged lady and her elderly mother.  They attended all six of the classes and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  In the time since taking the class they have attended other Extension educational meetings and made significant changes to the farming operation.  They had been renting the farm on a crop share lease to a relative and were surprised to hear about how many crop share leases typically work.  They were paying for one half of the harvesting cost and had never really been given a good accounting of expenses and receipts.  They really did not know how well the farm was doing except that it never made much money.  Improvements were never considered because they were never mentioned as being needed nor was there money to re-invest.  The daughter started handling the management of the farm after the Annie’s program was over and started asking questions that made the tenant nervous.  The decision was made to change the rental agreement to a cash rent and a new tenant was found.  Some of the old buildings were torn down and that area returned to crop production.  Extensive tiling was done to improve yield prospects.  Farm income has increased tremendously and the ladies are still continuing to learn more about agriculture.  They both seem to actually be enjoying ownership at this point.

Page last updated: July 18, 2011
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