Madeline Schultz, Women in Ag Program Manager • email@example.com • 515-294-0588
Women in Iowa were represented at the 22nd International Farm Management Association Congress through the paper, Extending Knowledge and Empowering Women in Agriculture: A Logic Model Perspective from Iowa, presented by Madeline Schultz and Lisa Scarbrough.
There were 290 people from 20 countries at the conference held in Launceston, Tasmania, Australia, March 4-8, 2019. The attendees presented 119 papers on everything from Sustainability in Australian Seafood Supply Chains to Challenges and Opportunities in South Africa: A Case Study of Pumpkin Production.
Our paper was part of the Research and Extension Services category. We designed the 3,500-word paper and 15-minute presentation to highlight why and how the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Farm Management Team is working with the audience of women in agriculture. To do this, we explained what an educational logic model is, shared the model we use for our programs, and discussed the key program inputs and participant impacts.
Logic models are useful tools to help conceptualize and share change efforts. Our model describes the underlying rationale for educating women in agriculture. It shows the logical relationships between the resources we invest, the activities that take place, and the benefits that result. The farm management team uses the logic model for program planning, implementation, and evaluation. Working through the logic model helps us enhance program performance through outcomes accountability. In other words, we try to identify the ways we think our programs will support women in agriculture and then measure how well those results are achieved.
A logic model is designed to be concise and includes several different components. Three brief stories explain the: 1) situation for women in agriculture in Iowa, 2) assumptions we make about educating women and 3) external factors influencing or limiting women. The logic model describes the inputs or investments we make such as county partnerships, curricula development, and grant funding to reduce participant costs. The outputs are the activities the farm management team leads such as local steering committees, development of agendas and delivery of Annie’s Project or other multi—session courses for women. The logic model also estimates whom the audience is and how many people we expect to reach.
Outcomes and impacts are identified in the logic model as knowledge gained, actions taken, and societal conditions improved. For Annie’s Project, we assess overall knowledge gains between the pre- and post-course surveys, by computing total scores by summing together participant scores for specific questions to create response groupings for each risk area: financial, human resource, legal, marketing, and production. The results show a statistically significant difference in the overall mean knowledge gains from pre-course surveys to post-course surveys in all five risk management areas.
To assess behavior changes, we ask course participants to tell us what the most important action taken during a course. An example from one survey respondent shared, “Finding our breakeven points and in general, just getting more involved with the day- to-day activities.” We also try to identify long-term impacts, or societal changes, by listening to women tell us about their actions and attitudes. One participant shared, “Women do have a critical part…we all have something to bring to the business and its good to work together to make that business, the family farm, as productive as we can.”
When ISU Extension extends knowledge and empowers women in agriculture, women are able to:
- Improve farm business profitability leading to economic resiliency in rural areas,
- Adopt conservation practices leading to reduced soil loss and improved water quality, and
- Build their networks with other women in the community leading to greater rural lifestyle satisfaction.
By improving agricultural sustainability, women in the industry are key stakeholders in the production of safe, accessible, and plentiful food.
We enjoyed the opportunity to present this information to a global audience. After the presentation, it was a wonderful experience to talk to people from Australia, Brazil, England, Canada, the United States and other countries about Iowa’s Extension programs and our amazing Iowa women in agriculture.
The full logic model and paper is available on our website.