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Annie's Project Courses Possible by Farm Credit Services

China Agriculture Report By CnAgriChina Agriculture Report Print

Farm Credit Services of America's collaboration with and financial support of Annie's Project will provide 19 farm transition and business management courses for women farmers and ranchers across Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming in 2013. FCSAmerica's collaboration effort includes a total pledge of financial support for $60,000.

The 19 courses include Annie's Project Level I standard courses and the Annie's Project Level II courses, titled Managing for Today and Tomorrow. Standard courses focus on all five areas of risk management -- financial, human resources, legal, marketing and production. The Managing for Today and Tomorrow courses expand on human resources and legal risk management through succession, business, estate and retirement planning for farm and ranch women. For delivery of the courses, FCSAmerica will partner with USDA's Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, South Dakota State University Extension, University of Nebraska Extension and University of Wyoming Extension.

"Having worked with farm women for 25 years, I've seen the benefits of offering transitioning information first-hand," said Angie Loew, FCSAmerica financial officer and member of the curriculum development team. "I know the guidance they are looking for and the state-level curriculum provided by local educators fits the need."

Managing for Today and Tomorrow is a specialized program designed to help women farmers and ranchers become involved in the journey of transitioning the farm or ranch. The 12-hour specialized course spans five sessions and evolved from the needs expressed by farm and ranch women participating in standard Annie's Project courses across the country. To maintain the integrity of Annie's Project, the newly funded course curriculum was built on the successful educational methodologies of the standard course and the strengths of partners and collaborators.

"Farm transitioning is not intuitive or easy to do. Women farmers and ranchers benefit from lecture, discussions and activities in the comfort of a small group of peers from all generations," said Tim Eggers, co-director for the Annie's National Network Initiative for Educational Success at Iowa State University. "The program is developed by people who care deeply about helping farm families prepare for and successfully manage farm and ranch transitions."

Gary Matteson, Farm Credit Council vice president for Young, Beginning and Small Farmer Programs, calls FCSAmerica's support a tremendous opportunity for helping farmers succeed. "Locally, FCSAmerica brings knowledge of community financial issues and allows women to learn in the best possible environment and form networks with people who can help them solve problems." The Farm Credit National Contributions Program is providing additional national project support for participant materials.

Annie's Project, an agricultural risk management education program for women, was started by Ruth Hambleton in 2003 when she was a University of Illinois Extension farm business management and marketing specialist. Hambleton recognized that the unique learning preferences of women often are not served through traditional farm management education programs. Annie's Project, created in tribute to Hambleton's mother, Annette "Annie" Fleck, sets up multi-session courses in farm communities. Annie's Project has successfully reached more than 8,000 women farmers and ranchers in 32 states.

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