Annie’s Project  Workshops

Ron Hook, Farm Management Field Specialist, Northwest Iowa

Many women have become involved in the operation of a farm business with little or no experience in the various aspects of management, which are so important to the success of a farm business.  These women have a desire to learn more about the farm business so that they can be more of an equal partner in managing the business.

Programmatic Response

Annie’s Project workshops were held in Sioux Center, Sheldon and Algona during January-April 2005.  The program included six 3-hour sessions on a variety of management topics.  The first two workshops were an afternoon session in Sioux Center and an evening session in Sheldon.  Topics included goal setting, estate planning, financial statements, various farm insurances, grain marketing, USDA programs and retirement planning.  The materials were presented by individuals whose jobs involved working with many aspects of these topics.


The workshops were attended by 42 farm women ranging in age 20-70.  Attendance included 8 in Sioux Center, 18 in Sheldon and 16 in Algona.  The Sioux Center/Sheldon group gave the program a 4.25 on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being “Very Valuable.”  The Algona group gave the program a rating of 4.33 on the same scale. 

The following are responses by the participants to open ended statements, “I now understand …  
“I now understand …”
…how important it is to do and keep up our paperwork.
…more about most things in the farming programs.
…what to think about for future.  Farming is expensive and time consuming business.
…that I have a lot more to learn.
…that I need to get more involved beyond record keeping.
…more on the forward grain pricing.
…what the banks use to decide if they will loan you money or not.  I think that the ratios are good to know whether you are going to borrow money or not.
…the mental stress a farmer goes through when planning a crop.
…how to do balance sheet ratio calculations and what my husband has going on in his mind with markets.
…financial statements better.
…more about crop insurance options.
…how important it is to be knowledgeable about our own financial status.

“and I plan to …”
I plan to …change a lot of things on our farm.
…use this info to the best of my knowledge.
…speak up and ask questions to my husband.
…hopefully encourage some changes on the cash rent portion of land.
…finish getting our affairs organized so that if anything happens to my husband or myself, our children will know where to find things and who to contact.
…keep up to date records for everything.  Make sure we do a business plan and follow through it.
…get more involved in the farming operation.
…plan time to set up business plan.
…draw up a full listing of all our assets, life insurance, investments, put it in a safe place and let our children know.
…get a will done – do estate planning-- get a mission statement and get some financial goals.
…use the Finpak and Fast tools regularly in our operation.  I will pay closer attention to our ratios and be more involved with the crop insurance and FSA programs.
…pass info gained on to my husband so he can benefit too.
…learn more about setting goals and writing out mission statements.
…pay closer attention to cash flow and try to make a marketing plan to sell crops better.
…use my knowledge of income statements, cash flows, etc. by really looking at the bottom line before purchasing something.


August 31, 2005   
101 - Strategic and Organizational Management Development for Iowa’s Farm Businesses

Page last updated: July 8, 2006
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