Grant Projects and Women in Agriculture Educators Conference
by Tim Eggers, Madeline Schultz and Bob Wells
USDA Risk Management Agency Grant Support
The final report for the 2008-2009 USDA RMA grant has just been sent off. With this funding of $52,000, we have
successfully established the Annie's National Network Initiative for Educator Success (ANNIES) at Iowa State University.
ANNIES provides support to other educators and increase opportunities for women in agriculture to receive quality risk
management education. Here are a few highlights from our first year (October 2008 to September 2009).
- ANNIES established a central office and committed 0.6 FTE to serving a national network of educators, conducting
program evaluation, and managing communications
- ANNIES provided support to educators who taught 83 classes in 15 states with 1,027 participants
- ANNIES leveraged RMA grant funds by applying for and receiving other grants and sponsorships such as RME funds,
Farm Credit Council sponsorship of notebooks, and extension/FINRA Foundation funding of Investing for Farm Families
- ANNIES provided train-the-trainer events, established 7 new states/regions including Indian Nations and 1890
institutions, and strengthened curriculum to expand the program reach and improve the educational impacts of Annie's Project
ANNIES has just completed the first quarter of a 2009-2010 USDA RMA. The $100,000 in grant funding supports 0.9 FTE,
training travel and other activities. In addition to building the capacity of the network of educators we already have,
and generally supporting new states/regions, this project targets expansion of Annie's Project into the Northeast states.
Online Investor Education - Investing for Farm Families Grant Project
Investing for Farm Families is an adaptation of curricula to address the special needs farm families have when investing
for their future. Over the past two years, Tim Eggers, Ruth Hambleton, and Bob Wells worked with Barbara O'Neill, Jason
Johnson and others to re-write the material and prepare the course for posting on the eXtension web site. This grant project
was funded through the eXtension and FINRA Foundations. Many Annie's Project educators were instrumental in field testing
the course with Annie's Project participants and this was very helpful. The resulting course is an excellent educational
module and can be accessed at www.extension.org/pages/InvestingforFarmFamilies.
Beyond the original grant project, ANNIES hopes to develop Investing for Farm Families for use as a Level II class and
put the course into a workbook and CD format as an alternative teaching aid to the internet.
National Women in Agriculture Educators Conference
We are excited about the upcoming National Women in Agriculture Educators Conference in Baltimore MD, March 23-25,
2010. Many educators across the country put in a proposal for a presentation on Annie's Project. As a result, there will
be a special Annie's Project track with eight presentations. There will be several Annie's Project posters grouped together
and we plan to make this a fun reception area! We hope to see many of you there. More information on the conference is at
Annie's Project Integrity
by Ruth Hambleton, Annie's Project Founder
It's amazing to see all the news stories, blogs and websites for Annie's Project all across the country on the Internet.
As this valuable training program grows, I would like to take this opportunity to explain the importance of maintaining
the integrity of Annie's Project - Risk Management Education for Women in Agriculture. Since the inception of Annie's
Project, one of my goals has been to have those two words mean the same thing for all farm and ranch women who participate
in this program. I hope that "Annie's Project" means awareness of community and educational resources that help women improve
their lives and solve farm and ranch problems.
I hope it means empowerment to a potent group of people who can expand and improve their decision making skills and
reduce their exposure to risk for the benefit of their families and all of rural America. And I hope it means an ever
growing network to support and mentor women so that they no longer feel underserved. It takes two major components to expand
this program. One, of course is funding. Women all over the United States are grateful to the four Risk Management Education
Centers, USDA and many other sponsors at local, regional and national levels that continue to contribute funding to make
Annie's Project possible. The second and even more critical component is the national network of educators who take Annie's
Project to heart and adapt it to their farming community and educational needs of their particular audience. I cannot over
emphasize enough the skills and dedication all of the state coordinators and local facilitators bring to the project. Thank you!!
The adaptability of Annie's Project is so important, but we must all strive to keep the core components and methodology of
Annie's Project foremost in our planning for local courses. For example, one of the goals of Annie's Project is to elevate
women to professional status by supplying each participant with a leather portfolio which encourages organization and a
sense of pride and accomplishment. This sure beats any three-ring binder I've ever put on my shelf and never used again!
Another goal of Annie's Project is to give women the tools they need to manage risk and become better farm business partners.
Please take a moment to review the Instructor Support Materials for the five areas of risk management on the Annie's Web
site for educators at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/feci/annie.
Data Crunch Time
by Lani McKinney and Madeline Schultz
Annie's Project is taking 2010 by storm with 80 classes starting between January and March of this year, thanks to all
of you and the great educator network you've become part of! This has kept us busy with ordering supplies and managing class
data. We hope the reminders and class checklists have been helpful to you. Thanks to the Iowa State University Extension
Value Added Agriculture Program, we now have two new students, Jordan Wenzel and Jolene Glenn, who are helping us with
shipping out those small supplies and data entry during this winter crunch time!
We are so appreciative of all the educators who are getting us that class data in a timely manner. As we work through
the data sets, we promise to return the data reports to you as quickly as possible with our goal being a two-week turn-around time.
As you may have heard on the last Annie's Project Educator Conference Call, we are working to revise some of the
evaluation instruments. Please continue to share with us your own suggestions for improvements in evaluation techniques or
survey instruments. Madeline is collecting input on evaluation and you can contact her at 515-294-0588 or Schultz@iastate.edu.
We will keep you posted on any new survey tools as the Annie's Project National Leadership Team makes them available.
Many of you have shared suggestions for improving the Annie's Educator Web site and this is greatly appreciated. We have
a nearly completed mock-up and when we get a break from data, we'll be getting the site improvements up. So keep sending Lani
your ideas at 515- 294- 2136 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, we are here to serve the
Annie's Project educators and we welcome your inquires and suggestions on all of our activities.
Good luck with all of your scheduled winter Annie's Project classse!
Kentucky Team Adapts Annie's Project for Agriculture Diversity
by Madeline Schultz
The University of Kentucky Extension takes a team approach when it comes to Annie's Project. Kentucky is a state with
diverse agricultural production and the educators work together to adapt the curricula to meet specific needs of the women
in a region.
Adaptability of Annie's Project Meets Needs
State Program Coordinator, Jennifer Hunter, says "It is unique that we have a program with such a broad appeal and
curriculum to be able to incorporate all subject matter areas." In many areas of the state all three or four county agents:
agriculture, horticulture, family consumer science and 4-H; will participate as part of the course." This is in addition
to the use of local industry professionals, government sources, and Extension specialists.
The Extension educators in Kentucky realized that women in agriculture were an un-served audience. They noticed very
limited participation by women at traditional agriculture meetings, even though women generally demonstrated strong participation
in the state's Extension programming. Annie's Project provided the forum for farm women to learn about agricultural topics
that were important to them in a comfortable setting.
Since beginning Annie's Project in 2007, program adaptability has been emphasized. Due to the diversity of Kentucky agriculture,
the curriculum is continually being adapted. "If the women are going to devote 18 hours of their time to the program, we feel
it is important to provide a program which meets their specific farm interests," commented Jennifer. Kentucky encourages
the agents to adapt the program to every location to meet the enterprise needs. In eastern Kentucky, Extension agents
offered programs on timber management, raised bed gardening, and farmer's markets. In western Kentucky, agents offered
a more traditional grain-focused curriculum. The educators in Kentucky agree that no two Annie's Project programs are the
same. This adaptability helped the state successfully introduce a new Extension program and maintain continued enthusiasm.
The state provides a link to Annie's Project on their Extension homepage at
http://www.ca.uky.edu/agecon/index.php?p=232. The Kentucky Web site
provides educator resources and ideas for adapting risk management education to women involved in very diverse agricultural
activities. The Annie's Project site also serves as a portal for women looking for information about Annie's Project and class
dates and locations. Kentucky has four classes going on this winter and is experimenting with the use of social networking.
Extension educator, Greg Henson, set up a blog to share risk management materials and links, talk more about class topics
and encourage networking outside of the Green River Area Annie's Project classroom. He also set up a class Facebook group
and Twitter site. Greg hopes the internet based networking tools will help the women get more from the project and get to know
each other better.
Team Effort Creates Successful Program
Annie's Project in Kentucky is a team effort. Extension specialists, administrators, and department chairs are all on board
with the program. The state has been fortunate to receive funding from the Governor's Office of Agriculture Policy and the
Southern Risk Management Extension Education Center; as well as the Kentucky Farm Service Agency and a list of local and
industry sponsors. The Kentucky Women in Agriculture has been a strong sponsor and supporter of the Annie's Project program
since it's inception. The Annie's project team participates in the Women in Agriculture annual conferences and the Women in
Agriculture group assists in recruiting Annie's project participants and class speakers as well as financially supporting
Annie's Project. Jennifer explains, "Everyone has made an effort to ensure the success of Annie's Project in Kentucky!"
The Kentucky Annie's Project team has many success stories. Through the Annie's Project program, the Extension educators were
able to identify the need for additional programming for beginning farmers, including second career farmers. Based on this experience,
the University of Kentucky successfully applied for and received a USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant.
They also successfully applied for a Southern Risk Management Education grant to help meet the demands for Annie's Project Level II courses.
Women Become Stronger Farm Business Partners
The real success of the program in Kentucky continues to be the stories of women who gained the skills and confidence needed
to become a stronger farm business partner. Four months after attending a Winter 2009 Annie's Project class in Kentucky, a participant
wrote: "I signed up for Annie's Project as I have always worked off the farm leaving the management duties exclusively to my husband.
As I have begun approaching retirement from public work, I realized the need for a better understanding of the varied aspects of the
day-to-day farm operation so that I would have the skills to be an informed decision-making partner. In addition, I had a friend
whose husband had passed away and witnessed the hardship and turmoil she faced as she continued their family farm operation.
Participating in Annie's Project proved to be much more informative and rewarding than I had anticipated. Every week was jam-packed
with practical and useful information with a broader range of topics than I imagined; from setting up wills and trusts, legal
responsibilities, financial requirements, creating business plans, and understanding marketing strategies to record-keeping. The
classes were comfortable and non-threatening, allowing for free sharing of questions, thoughts and ideas. The presenters were organized
and really strived to assist all the participants. I would recommend this course to any woman in agriculture and would love the
opportunity to repeat the course as well. As a result of participation in Annie's Project, I have achieved a greater level of confidence
through knowledge. Finally, the highest praise I can give this course is, my husband was envious!"
After participating in Green River Area Annie's Project, alumni requested an in-depth Estate Planning Series targeted towards women
and their family members. Green River Agriculture and Natural Resources agents, Horticulture agents, University of Kentucky Specialists,
Farm Bureau and attorneys worked together to meet the needs expressed for estate planning. The 4-week series included topics such as
estate planning goals and record keeping to long-term care planning and insurance. Wills, estate taxes and Power of Attorney were also
topics covered. The sessions concluded with farm and estate transition planning and taxation.
A survey was conducted 4 months after the Estate Planning Series to gauge impact from the program. A total of 20 people from Daviess,
Hancock, Webster, Henderson and Ohio counties participated and 19 responded to the survey. According to the results, all participants
felt they learned more about estate planning, and have increased their communication with family members. Of those surveyed, 68%
indicated they have updated or begun to plan their estate; 61% have chosen a durable power of attorney as a direct result of attending
the sessions. In the powerful words of one participant, "We are having family meetings with the parents and all seven children, trying
to work on how the farm can be passed on to one child because he is the only one of the children who stayed to farm the land."
These participant comments demonstrate the value of the team work performed by the Extension educators in Kentucky and the adaptability
of Annie's Project in meeting specific local needs for risk management education.
ANNIES Educator -News is provided as a service to Annie's Project state/regional Coordinators and local class Facilitators by the
Annie's National Network Initiative for Educational Success (ANNIES.) Suggestions for future topics are welcome. Please feel free to
contact us at 515-294-0588 or email@example.com.