Annie's Project to Celebrate 20 Years at National Conference

September 22, 2023, 10:52 am | Madeline Schultz

AMES, Iowa – The Annie’s Project national nonprofit organization is hosting the first national Annie’s Project conference in celebration of 20 years of improving the lives of women and their farm families. The “Rooted in Success, Growing our Future” conference will be held Oct. 18-20 in St. Louis, Missouri.

More than 19,000 women across the nation have participated in an Annie’s Project course since Ruth Hambleton held the first program in Kaskaskia, Illinois. The conference celebrates this legacy while offering new information, resources and networking opportunities. Annie’s Project alumni, past guest speakers and anyone interested in learning with other women in agriculture are welcome to attend.

Madeline Schultz with women in agriculture.“In the last 20 years, women have stepped into many new management and leadership roles and this conference gives women an opportunity to celebrate our collective achievements,” shared Madeline Schultz, president, Annie’s Project Board of Directors.

Wednesday afternoon’s program includes an urban tour to the New Cahokia Commons Urban Farm and Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation, as well as a rural tour of Marcoot Jersey Creamery with robotic milking system and on-site cheesemaking. Both tour groups will meet at the famous Eckert’s Belleville orchards and agritourism farm for a tour and supper.

Chris Chin, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, is a wife, mother, hog farmer and tireless advocate for agriculture. She will keynote the luncheon on Thursday. Cleo Franklin, founder of Franklin Strategic Solutions and Franklin Leadership Foundation, will be the dinner keynote speaker. As a past executive in three iconic agricultural equipment brands, his focus is now on supporting the next generation of leaders in agriculture.

Thursday includes a keynote panel on the future of Annie’s Project, roundtable sessions, and concurrent presentations. Sessions include Collette DePhelps, University of Idaho, speaking on her four-year study of women in agriculture trends; Charlotte Maxwell, Clemson State University (South Carolina) discussing how she teaches Annie’s Project three ways; and Carie Marshall-Moore, Moore Farms and Custom Ag (North Dakota), sharing leadership lessons from the farm.  

Finally, Friday morning offers a choice of two workshops. “The Hard but Necessary Conversations on Farm Succession” is presented by Wesley Tucker, field specialist in agricultural business, University of Missouri. “Real Colors, Real Leadership” is presented by Susann Mikkelson, Santa Rosa County agent, New Mexico State University, and Madeline Schultz, Women in Ag program manager, Iowa State University.

“Since the national Annie’s Project conference is being held in our neighboring state, this a wonderful opportunity for Iowans to learn with women in agriculture from all across America,” stated Schultz.

Early Bird registration is available until Oct. 3. With generous support from the national Farm Credit Council and other national sponsors, the cost is only $150 for adults and $100 for students. After that date, the cost increases by $50. To see hotel information and register for the conference online or by mail, refer to the conference flyer. Conference scholarships may be requested online or by filling out this form. If you are interested in carpooling to the conference from Iowa, email Rylee Sloss at and she will help connect you with others.

Shareable photo: Madeline Schultz at a recent Women in Agriculture event.

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