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Annie's Project

Membership/Impact: 10,000 women to date

Organization Focus: Education for farm and ranch women

Years Since Founding: 11

Program Focus: Education and training on farm and ranch business management

Women have been active participants in farming for as long as there have been farms, whether milking cows and feeding chickens, or serving as bookkeepers and planners.Today, more and more women are stepping into the forefront and running their own operations: the recent U.S. Ag Census revealed that nearly one-third of U.S. farms have women as primary operators.

Despite the increasing numbers of women in agriculture, it is still a male-dominated industry, so it can be a challenge for women to learn all they need to know to be successful and to build a support network that will help them continue to learn. Annie's Project was created to do just that.

Since its founding 11 years ago, Annie's Project has helped more than 10,000 farm and ranch women in 36 states learn critical skills to help manage risk in an agricultural enterprise, inviting real-world professionals to share their expertise in the risk areas of: finance, human relations, legal, marketing, and production.

Julie Van Waardhuizen, an Annie's Project participant who farms with her husband, believes that any woman who is involved in an agricultural operation can benefit from Annie's Project programs. "Even if you think you know a lot, you will always learn something," she says. "I think the most important thing I learned was the financial analysis, which helped me put together a loan proposal for the bank."

Even if you think you know a lot, you will always learn something.
Annie's Project

Farm Credit has been a long-time supporter of Annie's Project, and this year will be funding several projects to help the organization continue to provide valuable education and professional development for women in agriculture:

  • Identifying topics for new course curricula and on-line resources so the program's courses meet the evolving needs of modern agriculture
  • Bringing together its national team of educators for professional development program that will enhance their ability to share their expertise with program participants
  • Expanding Annie's Project's reach into new states and to support programming in low-resource states.

Farm women of all ages and experience levels, from operations large and small, raising commodities or niche products have benefitted from Annie's Project courses. As Nicole Jonas, who operates a diversified produce, plan and poultry operation, says, "Taking Annie's Project helped me get things lined up, focused, and turned around. It made me realize things I needed to be doing or be doing better and helped me focus on it as a real business."