Women play a critical role in managing and carrying out the marketing and financial aspects of the farm. Typical roles include bookkeeping, managing the farm's social media and website presence, interacting with customers, and hiring and managing employees. This project sought to expand educational programming in farm business management to farm women operators through Annie's Project. The goal in offering this nationally-recognized education program for farm women was to reach more women farmers, while also helping women build networks with other farmers, agriculture service providers, and enhancing their skills in farm business management, communication and leadership.
We did this through three weekend retreat-style programs, not only extending our reach, but strengthening the effectiveness of the program through this type of educational format. Participants reported to have gained a more in-depth understanding of three out of the four risk areas during the weekend retreat format.
Furthermore, post-course interviews with participants showed that women made changes in their business management practices such as keeping inventory records for the first time and pursuing government programs available to them that they were unaware of prior to the program. There was a significant increase in knowledge in the financial and marketing risk areas.