AMES, Iowa — According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, 30 percent of the nation’s 3.3 million farm operators were women — that’s more than 1 million! Many more Iowa women play key roles in their family farming operations.
Some 1,500 Iowa farm women are among the 10,000 farm women across the country who participated in Annie’s Project, building agricultural risk management skills and putting those skills to work on their own farms to increase profitability, rural quality of life and national food security. And they’re all invited to a party in their honor Sept. 18, when Annie’s Project will celebrate 10 years of empowering farm women to be better business partners and owners through networks and by managing critical information.
“We invite all Iowa farm women, whether or not they’ve participated in Annie’s Project, to the celebration Wednesday, Sept. 18, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Iowa State University campus in Ames,” said Madeline Schultz, a value added agriculture specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and national co-director for Annie’s Project. “We want to honor all Iowa farm women for their roles in agriculture, connect women with each other and the resources available to them through Iowa State University, and raise awareness of agricultural risk management.”
The program will feature tours of Iowa State University agricultural programs, agricultural risk management workshops and a celebration luncheon. Registration is available online at http://www.aep.iastate.edu/annie/ten/. Registration is $25 and must be received by midnight, Sept. 13, 2013.
Marsha Laux, a value added agriculture specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach and state coordinator for Annie’s Project, noted evaluation data gathered from Annie’s Project past participants. “We’re seeing a consistent increase in the women’s level of knowledge in agricultural risk management and decision making. Annie’s Project helps women be more confident in their management role on the farm,” Laux said.
“The growing number of farm women throughout the country is fueling the rising interest in risk management education,” Laux said. USDA statistics show that women are the principal operators of 14 percent of the nation’s 2.2 million farms. Here in Iowa, women are the principal operators of 9 percent of farms. They’re responsible for more than one million acres of land, as well as crop and livestock sales totaling more than $341 million.
The Annie’s Project Tenth Anniversary Celebration will begin with a message from Annie’s Project founder, Ruth Hambleton. She’ll explain why and how Annie’s Project started and the unique role Iowa State has played in spreading educational opportunities for farm women across Iowa and to 34 states. Hambleton is a retired University of Illinois Extension agribusiness and marketing specialist, president of Annie’s Project Education for Farm Women Not-for-Profit, and an adjunct lecturer in agricultural business at Southern Illinois University.
The morning breakout workshops will feature Ag Decision Maker (http://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm) resources for estate planning, budgeting, grain marketing, farmland leasing and agricultural employers. Next, participants may choose from on-campus tours featuring Morrill Hall, Farm House Museum, local foods on campus, the Meats Lab or the Plant and Soils Lab.
Cathann Kress, vice president for ISU Extension and Outreach, and Angela Loew, a financial officer with Farm Credit Services of America, will keynote the noon luncheon program. Videos highlighting past Annie’s Project participants on their farms also will be featured.
The afternoon breakout workshops will showcase the Iowa Beef Center, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the Farm Energy Project, Safe Farm and the Beginning Farmer Center. Afterward, participants will board buses for a choice of Iowa State University tours including the BioCentury Research Farm, Dairy Farm, Horticulture Farm, Vet Med Diagnostics Lab and Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center. Then participants will re-convene for a final light-hearted session in the Memorial Union featuring Mary Swander, distinguished professor of English at Iowa State and Iowa Poet Laureate.
The Annie’s Project Tenth Anniversary Celebration is being planned by the Annie’s Project team at ISU Extension and Outreach. The program is sponsored by ISU Extension and Outreach, Farm Credit National Contributions Program and Farm Credit Services of America.
For more information on the Annie’s Project Tenth Anniversary Celebration or access to registration, please call 515-294-9483 or go to http://www.aep.iastate.edu/annie/ten/.