The number of women taking an active role on the farm is increasing whether they are the record-keepers, on-the-farm/business partners, or principal operators. Because of this, there is a demand to educate farm women in the areas of management, insurance, and legal and financial issues.

Annie's Project, a risk management education program, was developed in 2004 in Illinois to meet the demand. It is based on the life of a farm woman, Annie, who grew up in a small town in northern Illinois. Annie spent her lifetime learning to be an involved business partner with her husband by keeping records and making informed management decisions. It has since been offered in 13 states to over 3,000 participants.

Arkansas Women in Agriculture, a private non-profit organization, in conjunction with University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, will offer the Annie's Project workshop in Arkansas this fall.

The workshop is designed as a three-hour course, one night a week over six weeks.

The first workshop is scheduled to begin on Thursday, Oct. 25, at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro in the Agricultural Building, Room 242, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Seating is limited to 25 participants and registration is required. Topics are:

  • Oct. 25: Introduction and What is Management, True Colors.
  • Nov. 1: Business Plans, Women and Money, How Property is Titled, Cash and Crop Share Leases.
  • Nov. 8: Estate Planning, Retirement, Financial Documentation (balance sheet, income statement, cash flow).
  • Nov. 15: Risk Management Strategy, Grain Marketing, Insurance (life, health, disability).
  • Nov. 29: Crop Insurance, Internet Resources and Farm Analysis Solution Tools software, Interpretation of Financial Statements.
  • Dec. 6: Topics of participants' interest (such as farm bill or a continuation of previous topics).

The six-week course will also be offered in the Conway, Ark., area in January and February 2008 and in southwest Arkansas in the fall of 2008.

Annie's Project is funded by a grant from the Southern Region Risk Management Education Center, a division of the USDA Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Service.

For more information on upcoming Annie's Project workshops, registration and course fees, contact Carrie Hirmer, Arkansas Women in Agriculture at (870) 653-6258 or carriehirmer@yahoo.com or Pam Guiling, Agricultural Economics Associate-NEREC, at (870) 526-2199 or pguiling@uaex.edu.

Sponsors for the northeast Arkansas workshop are ASU College of Agriculture, RiceTec, R.E. Lee Wilson Trust, Craighead County Farm Bureau, and Farm Credit Mid-South.