Annie’s Project – a new program for women farmers in Dunn, Pierce, Polk, & St. Croix Counties and surrounding area
January 23, 2013 – According to 2007 U.S.agricultural census data, there are 9,176 Wisconsin farms identifying a woman as the principal operator, indicating a 25% increase from the 2002 data. This places Wisconsin 9th in the nation for the number of women principal operators and 9th (tied with New York) in the nation for growth in this population. Census data indicates Dunn, Pierce, Polk & St. Croix Counties have 959 farms with a female identified as a principal operator. The average size of Wisconsin farms with women as principal operators is 94 acres, as compared to an overall average Wisconsin farm size of 194 acres. Research indicates that farms operated by women are on average smaller in acres and sales when compared to farms operated by males. These farms are more likely to have limited resources and consider alternative and/or direct marketing enterprises. Beginning farm women and those considering an alternative enterprise have different educational and risk management needs compared to established farmers and commodity producers.
A new program has been developed to assist farm women who are just starting or are direct-marketing their farm products in Dunn, Pierce, Polk & St. Croix and surrounding counties. The program, called Annie’s Project, is modeled after a widely successful program that started in Illinois and has spread to over 20 states. While the original Annie’s Project focused on traditional farm commodity enterprises, this new program will focus on the risk management educational needs for beginning farm women and/or farm women who are considering a direct marketing or value-added enterprise for their operation.
This six week workshop will help participants:
- Evaluate goals, skills and resources to determine farm business feasibility.
- Learn how to gather market research
- Prepare to write a business plan
- Gather information on tax issues and business structures for the farm business
- Learn about core financial statements and how to use them to make decisions.
- Learn about state and federal regulations and industry practices for direct marketing farm products and safe food handling.
- Become familiar with valuable resource agencies, organizations, and personnel as they continue writing and implementing their business plans.
The program will be on six consecutive Wednesday s, starting in January through February 2013. The dates are January 23 & 30 and February 6, 13, 20 & 27, from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. The classes will meet at the AgStar Financial Services office,540 Baldwin Plaza Drive, Baldwin, WI 54002.
While organizers encourage participants to attend all six workshops to get the most out of the program, participants are not required to attend all six to register for the program. One of the goals of Annie’s Project is to provide networking opportunities for farm women in similar situations or developing similar enterprises. A social networking format will be established for the group by the organizers to continue the networking component after the workshop series is completed.
The cost for this project has been subsidized through grants and sponsorships, so organizers are able to offer this program for $40 per participant for the entire six week course. This fee covers materials, speakers, and lunch for the six sessions. For more information, or to register for the class, contact Katie Wantoch, Dunn County UW-Extension Ag Agent, at (715) 232-1636 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration and payment should be mailed to Dunn County UW-Extension, 800 Wilson Ave, Room 330, Menomonie, WI 54751.
Please click here for the program brochure (pdf) - annie’s project brochure 2013
Annie’s Project is partially funded by the USDA Risk Management Agency, UW Cooperative Extension, the UW Center for Dairy Profitability, AgStar Financial Services, USDA Farm Service Agency and the National Annie’s Project Program.