Annie Project Homepage

Risk Areas
Curriculum Examples
Promotional Materials
How to Begin
Class Checklist
Grant Writing
Contact Us

Annie's National Network Initiative for Educational Success
ANNIES E-News - February 5, 2010

Remember to join the Annie's National Leadership Team on the monthly ANNIES Conference Calls every third Friday of the month at 2:00 pm Eastern time (1 Central, 12 Mountain, 11 Pacific.) The next conference call is February 19, 2010. You can join us by dialing toll-free, 866-809-4014 and entering pass code 2946161#.

The February topic call will feature guest speakers from 3 states who will share how they have adapted Annie's Project to meet the needs of women producing diverse agricultural products. Other participants on the call will be invited to ask questions and share how they have adapted Annie's Project to meet local needs too.

Thanks for Networking!


ANNIES UPDATES: Grant Projects and Women in Agriculture Educators Conference
TEACHING UPDATES: Annie's Project Integrity
FEATURE STATE/REGION: Kentucky Team Adapts Annie's Project for Agricultural Diversity


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 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


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 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 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 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


Iowa State University Extension

Copyright © 2008, Iowa State
University Extension
Lani McKinney, Program Assistant
Ames, Iowa 50011
(515) 294-2136
All rights reserved.
Page last updated 11/30/10.