New U.S. census data indicates more women are managing farms today in Texas and a series of workshops is scheduled 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 Nov. 3 through Dec. 8 at the Coryell County Civic Center located at 301 Veterans Memorial Loop (Complex Circle) in Gatesville.
As an overview of the fundamentals of maintaining a farm or ranch, Annie’s Project 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 20, 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 AgriLife Extension office in Coryell County, at 254-865-2414. The registration form is also available here by clicking on the Annie’s Project link.
Speakers will include a broad spectrum of local professionals, practitioners and expertise: Texas Farm Bureau Insurance, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Farm Service Agency, U. S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service, crop insurance, farm credit, as well as an agricultural attorney, family financial management specialist and a registered investment advisor, Johnson said.
According to the USDA 2012 Census of Agriculture, there has been a 10 percent increase in the number of farms principally operated by women since 2007. Women now manage 15 percent of the nation’s farms and about 38,500 farms in Texas. Gaining confidence to understand the complex agricultural business surrounded by other farm women is the foundation of Annie’s Project, Johnson said.
“The program is based on the experiences of farm women who spend their lifetime learning how to become an involved business manager or partner with their farm husbands and other family members,” 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.”
The program is focused on education and discussion with sales pitches strictly prohibited. Participants will receive training in critical decision-making and information addressing the management of production risk, marketing risk, financial risk, personal risk, and estate planning.