January 13, 2011
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Rutgers Cooperative Extension will present the nationally acclaimed farm business educational program for farm women, Annie’s Project, to women farmers in New Jersey, starting next month. A six-week risk management educational program that began in the Midwest and spread throughout the country, Annie’s Project will be presented in Cape May County in southern New Jersey from Feb. 10 and in Hackettstown in northern New Jersey from Feb. 22. A $50 registration fee will be charged for the six classes, held from 6 to 9 p.m., over the course of six weeks.
Annie’s Project is based on a real farm woman, Annette Fleck, who spent her lifetime learning how to be an involved business partner with her farm husband. The program was created by her daughter, Ruth Hambleton, who became a Cooperative Extension educator in Illinois.
Annie’s Project takes Fleck's farm management experiences and shares them with farm women living and working in the highly complex business of farming. The six-week course, tailored to meet the needs of New Jersey women farmers, evolved out of two focus group meetings with female farmers in Sussex and Hunterdon counties in 2010, to determine what local women in agriculture-related businesses wanted to know.
According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, women operate 22% of the 10,327 farms in New Jersey. However, the average size of female operated farms is only 29 acres and the average market value of products sold is only $22,170 annually, compared to the New Jersey farm average of $95,564. Annie’s Project will give New Jersey farm women the tools to help them succeed.
Annie’s Project focuses on the five areas of farm risk, including marketing and pricing, production risk, financial management, human and personal risk, and legal risk. The course will cover a wide range of issues, including personal finance and business management practices, developing marketing plans, farm transfer and estate planning, using social media, advertising and media outreach, production record keeping and food safety issues. Program participants will complete a full business plan during the course.
Contact your county agricultural agent for more details by visiting njaes.rutgers.edu/county/ or depending on your location, call the following RCE personnel: Steve Komar (Sussex County) at 973-948-3040, Bob Mickel (Hunterdon County) at 908-788-1339 or Jenny Carleo (Cape May County) at 609-465-5115.
Funding for Annie’s Project in New Jersey is provided by the Northeast Center for Risk Management Education, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Farm Credit East, New Jersey Farm Bureau and Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Cooperating agencies include Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; the U.S. Department of Agriculture; USDA’s Farm Service Agency; New Jersey Farm Bureau; New Jersey Department of Agriculture; and county Boards of Chosen Freeholders.
For more information about Annie's Project, visit extension.iastate.edu/Annie/.
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