This article is from the Extension Connection newsletter, Spring 2006.
With the help of Iowa State University Extension and a grant from the North Central Risk Management Education Center, Annie’s Project has been brought to Iowa.
This project that empowers farmwomen to be better business partners is based on the life of an Illinois farmwoman. Annie experienced misfortunes of low profitability and changing farm enterprises, but she kept records and kept the farm business running.
Twelve Iowa Annie’s Project sites have reached 279 Iowa women since 2004. This year, Annie’s Project sites are expanding and stretching from Muscatine to Shenandoah.
Bob Wells is one of the ISU Extension farm management specialists working with the project. He said, “Annie’s Project tells farm women that they’re capable — they have the skills to run a farm or ranch. It improves communication with their partner and gives the women a voice in the conversation.”
Deb Hinnah, a participant in the first Iowa Annie’s Project, held in Ainsworth, agrees.
“It gave me confidence and the desire to get more information. Now I’m the one who brings home a lot of the information from meetings. I learned about all the paperwork involved,” Hinnah said.
Over the course of six three-hour sessions, Annie’s Project participants learn about risk management, business plans, marketing strategies, financial recordkeeping and personnel issues. The project also helps farmwomen develop networks.
“The women help teach each other. You see them interacting and asking more questions,” Wells said.
Hinnah added, “It helped me to be a lot more confident in general and be able to discuss issues with my husband and other agriculture people. I’ve also been reading a lot more ag-based materials and now am serving on different committees.”
For more information, see ISU Extension’s Annie’s Project Web site.