Maybe you've already participated in an Annie's project program. Several Purdue University Extension educators have adopted the concept from another state, and are using it to teach farm wives how to survive and thrive both as a farm partner and as a lynch pin of the farm family.
The first official announcement for another six-week session of the program for 2009 just came across the desk. It will be coordinated by Vicki J. Hadley, consumer and family science educator in Allen County. Her title may say consumer and family science, but Hadley is well-qualified to wear many hats, including how to instruct farm wives about farm finances and other issues. She and her husband, Roger II, farm near Woodburn. Roger was named a Master Farmer in 2005. The program is sponsored by Indiana Prairie Farmer magazine and the Purdue University College of Agriculture.
The purpose of Annie's project is simply to empower farm women, Vicki Hadley says. The idea is to equip them so they can become better business partners, she adds. The program she's offering in northeast Indiana will run February 19 through March 26. A session will be held each Thursday during that period. This program is especially geared to farm women in Allen, Huntington, LaGrange and Wells Counties.
Hadley wants to help farm women 'gain the understanding and knowledge necessary to be active and involved farm partners.' By the nature of the sessions, those that participate should also find new ways to balance the demands of family, community and professionalism within the agricultural community, she adds. The sessions feature a combination of lecture, discussion and individual and group activities. Computer training is also part of the six-week package.
Specific topics that will be addressed include a session on personality profiles, another on understanding farm and family finances and a third on financial analysis for the farm. The other three topics include a closer look at computer programs designed for farm business management, understanding crop and livestock marketing and, finally, learning the tools behind farm business planning.
The program will also be offered elsewhere in Indiana. The northeast Indiana program runs for three hours each week, including 1 to 4 p.m. each week in Huntington and Wells Counties, and 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in Allen and LaGrange Counties.
Registration is $75. Check out: www.agriculture.purdue.edu/wia/anniesproject.htm. Or ask your local Extension office for information. Reach the Allen County Extension office at 260-481-6510.
Look for a feature story on farm women and how they look toward the future of agriculture in the upcoming January issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer. Free-lance writer Joy McClain visited with four farm wives around the state, gaining insight on why they prefer life on the farm, plus what they think farm life might be like in the future. Watch for it in your mailbox soon.