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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

New U.S. census data indicates that in Texas more women are managing farms today than they were since 2007 and a series of workshops are scheduled for Georgetown to help cater to this trend, according to an expert.

Annie’s Project is an educational program dedicated to strengthening women’s roles in the modern farm enterprise, said Dr. Jason Johnson, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist, Stephenville. The series will be offered in six sessions, from 6-9 p.m. each Tuesday beginning April 15 through May 20, at the AgriLife Extension office in Williamson County, 3151 S.E.  Inner Loop, Suite A in Georgetown.

By providing essential education about managing a farm or ranch, Annie’s Project, a women’s workshop series, empowers farm women to be better business partners through networks and by managing and organizing critical information, Johnson said.

“Often farm women do not feel comfortable in the coffee shop network that is so familiar to farm/ranch men,” Johnson said. “Annie’s project provides a place where farm women can learn both from the perspectives of local agricultural professionals as well as the experiences of other class members.”

Cost of the program is $50 per person and class size is limited to 30, he said. Registration slots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. The conference is sponsored by AgriLife Extension, with program support provided by Farm Credit Bank of Texas.

Interested participants with questions about the program can request a brochure and registration form by contacting Johnson at 254-968-4144 or the Williamson County A&M AgriLife Extension Office in Georgetown, at 512-943-3300. The registration form is available at http://bit.ly/12HTxJ4.

Scheduled speakers are: Texas Farm Bureau insurance, USDA-Farm Service Agency, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Georgia Pirtle Crop Insurance,  Capital Farm Credit, Lone Star Ag. Credit, as well as an agricultural attorney, family financial management specialist and a registered investment advisor. Participants get the opportunity to hear the perspective of experts and question them about ways to implement strategies in their own businesses.

According to preliminary data, the number of female principal farm operators in Texas increased 10 percent between 2007 and 2012, bucking the national trend. About 38,000 farms in Texas had female principal operators in 2012 and women now manage 14 percent of the nation’s 2.2 million farms. Gaining confidence in balancing family considerations with an agricultural business in a learning environment surrounded by other farm women is the foundation of Annie’s Project, Johnson said.

“The program is based on the experiences of farm wives who spend their lifetime learning how to be an involved business partner with their farm husbands,” Johnson said. “The reality is that over 90 percent of farm women usually end up managing their personal and farm business finances at some point in their lives as a result of death, divorce or disability.”

Participants will receive training in critical decision-making and information areas addressing: production risk management, marketing risk management, financial risk management, estate planning resources, legal risk management and human resources risk management.

Additional information about the program and how other farm women nationally have benefitted is available at: www.extension.iastate.edu/annie .

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