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Annie's National Network Initiative for Educational Success
ANNIES E-News - May 12, 2010

Please join the ANNIES national leadership team for the next Educator Conference Call on Friday May 21st, at 2:00 pm Eastern time (1 Central, 12 Mountain, 11 Pacific).

The topic this month is on ways to "Boost Marketing and Recruit Participants." The toll-free call-in number is 866-809-4014; enter pass code 2946161#.

Thanks for Networking!


ANNIES UPDATES: Strategic Planning Contributes to Grant Seeking
FOCUS ON TEACHING: Conference Raises the Bar on Women's Programming
CLASS MANAGEMENT: Evaluation Results and other Web Additions
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Meeting the Needs of SD's Underserved Populations


Strategic Planning Contributes to Grant Seeking
by Madeline Schultz

The ANNIES National Leadership Team (NLT) has been involved in a strategic planning process during the last two monghts. The groals of this planning are to 1) clarify the roles and responsibilities of the National Leasdership Team, managment team, ISU Extensioin, the not-for-profit and the national network of educators 2) describe how ANNIES functions and operates its programming, and 3) develop a Memorandum of Understanding between the Illinois-based Annie's Project-Education for Farm Women not-for-profit and Iowa State University (ISU) Extension. The NLT hopes all of this planning will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the services we offer the national network of educators and allow new ways for everyone to interact, share and contribute to program improvement and growth.

The NLT used the strategic plans in the development of two major grant applications this spring. The team submitted proposals to the USDA NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program in the amount of $250,000 per each of the three years and a USDA RMA Community Outreach and Assistance Partnership in the amount of $250,000 for one year. While the applications were quite different, the two proposals were very similar in that both propose the development of Level II programming for farm and ranch transition planning and both benefit farmers and ranchers in every stage of the business life-cycle by targeting women. Both projects included funding for professional development programs for the national network of educators as well as funding to help new states or regions offer Annie's Project.

The objectives of the grant propsals included the folowing:

  • Create and manage broad partnerships to increase educational opportunities for women agricultural producers and support a national network of educators.
  • Improve ANNIES Level I courses teaching all five areas of risk; and to specifically produce Level II Farm Transition and Investing for Farm Families curricula.
  • Encourage risk management education by building on the ANNIES brand recognition and marketing classes to national and local audiences of women
  • Deliver risk management education through the national network of educators to 2,600 women agricultural producers in more than 20 states in FY 2011
  • Generate new knowledge about educating women agricultural producers through un-biased and robust program evaluation

One of the rewarding aspects of preparing these grant proposals was the many letters of support received for the proposed activities from the national network of educators, the Farm Credit Council, several Farm Credit Associations, women farmers and ranchers, and many Iowa supporters such as the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. The NLT greatly appreciates this teamwork and support of efforts to further the ANNIES mission all across the US; "To empower farm women to be better business partners through networks and by managing and organizing critical information."

The 2010 grant proposals may be viewed on the educator website at under the Grant Funding heading.


Conference Raises the Bar on Women's Programming
by Madeline Schultz

Rubbing elbows with other educators who develop and deliver successful risk management education programs targeted to women in agriculture raises the bar on women's programming across the US. The 2010 Women in Agriculture Educators Conference, held in Baltimore, MD March 24-25, drew about 175 attendees. From the hilarious 'Furrow Queen' story to the serious 'No Line at the Restroom' story, the conference was inspiring and full of truly useful information about reaching women and meeting their educational needs in rural America. The conference was sponsored by the Risk Management Education Centers.

Because of the great response to the call for papers by ANNIES educators, the Women in Agriculture Educators Conference offered a full tract on ANNIES this year. This was very exciting and demonstrates the breadth of expertise the ANNIES educators possess.

The ANNIES tract sessions were:

  • Reaching Aspiring, Beginning and/Direct Marketing Women Farmers Through Annie's Project- Anne Pfieffer, University of Wisconsin
  • Fund Your Annie's Project with a Risk Management Agency Small Sessions Grant- Heidi Carter and Tim Eggers, Iowa State University Extension
  • Expanding Annie's Project in the Northeastern States- Shannon Dill and Jenny Rhodes, University of Maryland; Madeline Schultz, Iowa State University
  • Sustainable Annie's Systems in South Dakota for Years to Come (SASSY)- Robin Salverson and Adele Harty, South Dakota State University Extension
  • Adapting the Highly Successful Annie's Project to Diverse East Coast Farm Communities- John Berry and Winifred McGee, Penn State University Extension
  • Incorporating Investing for Farm Families into a Second Level Annie's Project- Ruth Hambleton, Annie's Project-Education for Farm Women and Barb O'Neill, Rutgers Cooperative Extension
  • Impact Reporting: Stepping up to the Challenge- Bob Wells and Madeline Schultz, Iowa State University Extension

In addition, ANNIES posters were presented by Ruth Hambleton, Madeline Schultz and Jenny Rhodes.

Several ANNIES Educators presented on other educational programs targeting women in agriculture including: Dwight Aakre (ND), John Berry (PA), Karisha Devlin (MO), Shannon Dill (MD), Stacy Hadrick (SD), Ron Haugen (ND), Doris Herringshaw (OH), Carrie Hirmmer (AR), Willie Huot (ND), Jason Johnson (TX), Joy Kirkpatrick (WI), Winifred McGee (PA), Jennifer Rhodes (MD), Mary Sobba (MO), Julia Woodruff (OH), and Megan Voss (NE).

In all, there were more than 60 presentations focusing on helping educators reach out to America's women in agriculture and teach them to manage farm and ranch risks. The educators fortunate enough to attend the event took home new ideas and increased their awareness of many educational programs that could benefit audiences in their states or regions. They also got in some great networking with familiar and just-introduced colleagues with whom they could share with and learn from. Those who were not able to attend are encouraged to start planning to attend the next conference, anticipated in 2012. Keep in mind, the RME centers try to provide scholarships to presenters and every ANNIES educator has expertise to share!

Regardless of conference attendance, everyone can check out all of the ANNIES and other women in agriculture presentations on the Ag Risk Education Library Web site at In addition to checking out the web link, ANNIES educators are encouraged to just pick up the phone and chat with the presenters about their projects. Openly sharing and expanding quality programs is a real benefit of being part of the Annie's National Network Initiative for Educational Success and hopefully everyone will take full advantage of this.


Evaluation Results and other Web Additions
by Lani McKinney

Annie's Project classes are off to a great start in 2010. Thanks to all of you for your cooperation in administering and mailing us the results of the Participant Registration form and the pre-class surveys titled Baseline Farm & Risk Management Practices for each of your classes. If you have not yet received your report, be assured they are coming soon. At the end of your classes, you should have administered an End of Class Evaluation. Make sure the results of this have been mailed to Lani McKinney at ANNIES, Annie's National Network Initiative for Educational Success, Iowa State University, 1111 NSRIC, Ames, Iowa 50011. With your help and cooperation, our central database is shaping up nicely. This year, we also had assistance from a couple of young women here on campus, Jolene Glenn and Jordann Wenzel. A big thanks to them as we couldn't have stayed on top of the ordering, data entry and reporting without them.

Fall 2009 Internet Survey

The ANNIES team selected a random sample of 400 participants from 2008 and 2009 Annie's Project courses in 15 states to contact by phone or internet Zoomerang surveys.
The telephone survey was conducted by ISU student Sarah Clarahan during October 2009. She reached 37 women who completed the telephone survey. The internet survey was emailed to participants in November and the survey was closed at the end of December. During this time, 74 participants completed the nine-question Zoomerang survey. There were 111 combined respondents, a 28% response rate.

The survey instrument was designed to measure the interest Annie's Project course participants had in pursuing additional educational efforts in key risk management areas. The survey indicated the following results:

  • 48% of respondents participated in additional training on estate planning
  • 35% of respondents participated in additional training on costs of production
  • 35% of respondents participated in additional training on grain marketing
  • 29% of respondents participated in additional training on crop insurance
  • 24% of respondents participated in additional training on agricultural contracts
  • 21% of respondents participated in additional training on farm land leasing
  • 19% of respondents participated in additional training on livestock marketing

The survey also asked the women if they developed a network of local peers and professionals who could provide them with support, motivation, and assistance with risk management issues. The survey indicated 61% of women agreed with this statement.

The final survey question was qualitative, asking women what was the single most important thing they took away from Annie's Project. Samples of the results are shown here:

  • Probably everything that we did, the networking was probably one of the best things for me, professionally and personally. And also the speakers, I have made contact with then and am meeting new people in the community.
  • That there is help out there and I now know what to ask for and who to go to. I do not feel as uninformed as I did before. I have a BS in animal science and I still did not understand some of what was talked about until after the Annie's project speakers. It was put into laymen's terms. I think that this is a very positive and empowering program. Thank you for setting it up and taking it to the next levels.
  • While I felt like I was the only one in the "boat" I found out that it is pretty normal for wives not to be a real part of our husband's farming business.
  • That there is some much to learn about farming, estate planning etc. which will take a lifetime to learn but Annie's project really opened my eyes up and made me more aware of things to do and get involved with.
  • I did this program with my daughter to get her more "in the know" and aware of more farming sources.
  • Confidence to share opinions when making decisions.
  • The support of other women, going thru the same changed my life forever, knowing I have valuable skills inside me that are now learn, grow and share with other people. I would recommend this course...and would love to take a follow up one. Please keep me informed on this!!
  • How important handling of our "small" farm was to our future, especially into retirement from other jobs.
  • The software and the different financial type forms to use as a guide in my own business.

To see the complete survey results, go to ANNIES Educator website at

Winter 2010 Annie's Project Classes

In the first quarter of 2010, educators from 15 states completed 66 Annie's Project Level I classes with a total of 890 participants. To see a table showing where the classes were held and the number of participants by state, for 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, click on this link: Please e-mail Lani McKinney at if you see any changes that need to be made for your state.


Meeting the Needs of SD's Underserved Populations
by Lani McKinney

In 2006, Robin Salverson and Stacy Hadrick, County Extension Specialists from South Dakota State University (SDSU) embraced an opportunity to partner with North Dakota State University Extension specialists Dwight Aakre and Ron Haugen to bring Annie's Project to South Dakota. The NC-RME grant they received was for two Annie's Project classes in each of western North Dakota and western South Dakota. Stacy shared, "From there we ran with it. We started with the two locations of Buffalo and Timberlake. We felt that women were a high priority and an underserved population that we needed to reach out to." The money from the grant made it possible to bring Annie's Project to over 60 women in these two classes alone. "We had a ton of fun teaching it and really connected with the women," adds Robin.

Since those first classes, they have added topics to the curriculum, but still stick mainly to the core activities they started with. "We have added the livestock curriculum and emphasized to the women the importance of taking care of themselves and their needs," says Stacy, who serves as the Annie's State Coordinator. The SDSU Administrators recognize the important impacts of Annie's Project and the state now has an issues-based team focusing on women's programming. Robin and Stacy feel the national brand of Annie's Project is very valuable for recruiting participants and obtaining sponsors.

And how are women responding? After each three hour class session, the participants stick around and share more with each other, with educators and just spend time developing their network. "Participant networking is a great asset to this program," relates Robin. The responses written on end of class evaluations provide a glimpse of the importance of this programming to the women. Recent participants commented: "Shared with my husband about marketing, estate planning and discussed future ideas with our grown children," and "After the meeting I visited with my husband and father-in-law about tracking the markets. I was unsure of what to do. We sat down together and worked through it and I'm now tracking the wheat market with them." Another participant wrote: "Excellent project. I learned so much and it greatly improved my attitude toward ranching, more enthusiasm. Sometimes you tend to get in a hole and can't find a vision. This class/gathering helped me see the future and feel more in control."

South Dakota's Level II Program is SASSY

Based on evaluations from the Annie's Project classes, South Dakota soon realized there was a strong desire from women to continue with a more advanced curriculum. In 2008, they received a grant from North Central Risk Management Education Center to develop SASSY (Sustainable Annie's Systems in South Dakota for Years to Come). This advanced curriculum includes all five areas of risk management and is designed to develop self-driven, on-going learning communities. Women participants helped choose the structure of the program that would best fit with their busy schedules. The women also choose to focus on documentation and record-keeping for their first SASSY program. So far the women have expressed a great appreciation for SASSY. Efforts are currently underway to identify specific benefits and impacts of the program. Also, a family business workshop is currently being developed to give women a vehicle to share the knowledge they gained in both Annie's Project and SASSY with their families so they can start developing transition plans for their businesses.

Connecting with the National Network is Invaluable

Networking among other educators is important and plays a big part in the success of South Dakota's programming for women farmers and ranchers. For instance, attending national conferences, such as the recent National Women in Agriculture Educators Conference, held in Maryland and sponsored by the RME, and similar meetings helps the educator team learn about new activities and resources available to utilize in Annie's Project and other women's programming. They also share what they've learned. Robin and SDSU Extension colleague, Adele Harty, presented a session at this year's RME conference on their new SASSY project that was well attended.

"We are excited that there is an Annie's center," agree Robin and Stacy. Established in October of 2008, the Annie's National Network Initiative for Educational Success (ANNIES) at Iowa State University strives to connect educators with each other to share best practices and to provide services that make it easier for educators to deliver quality programs to women farmers and ranchers. The South Dakota team utilizes the ANNIES web resources and is beginning to interact more with the ANNIES national leadership team. They would like to continue to help develop the evaluation component for Annie's across the US. They make sure to participate in the monthly ANNIES Educator calls and share what South Dakota is doing. Stacy enthusiastically adds, "We would like to help broaden the national curriculum to increase the amount of livestock activities available and we would love to be a part of developing the advanced Annie's programming."

South Dakota feels being part of the Annie's Project network has been invaluable to gaining a new perspective for what is occurring in other states - ways others are reaching women, new curriculum ideas, and learning about activities and resources available.

Women play a critical role in agriculture in South Dakota, and Annie's Project has provided the framework and resources to assist in moving programming forward for this underserved audience. Now as South Dakota looks to the future with Annie's Project, their goal is to continue to build a better program for their clientele.


ANNIES E-News is provided as a service to State and Regional Coordinators and local class facilitators by the Annie's National Network Initiative for Educational Success (ANNIES) National Leadership Management:

  • Tim Eggers,, 712-542-5171
  • Ruth Hambleton,, 618-237-6441
  • Madeline Schultz,, 515-294-0588
  • Bob Wells,, 641-673-5841

And the ANNIES dedicated Administrative Assistant and Communications Specialist

  • Lani McKinney,, 515-294-2136

The team welcomes comments on the newsletter and article submissions. We also welcome suggestions for Educator Topic Calls and all other networking and service activities.


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.