Workshop for farm, ranch women coming up in Stephenville
STEPHENVILLE – New U.S. census data indicates the number of Texas women managing farms has grown by 10 percent since 2007, and a nationally awarded workshop series is scheduled for Stephenville to help empower them through shared experiences, according to an expert.
Annie’s Project is an educational program dedicated to strengthening women’s roles in modern farm and ranch enterprises, said Dr. Jason Johnson, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist, Stephenville.
The series will be offered in six sessions, from 6-9 p.m. each Thursday evening beginning Sept. 7 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 1229 N. U.S. Highway 281, Stephenville. The class will meet on Sept. 7, 14 and 21, and Oct. 5, 12 and 19.
Cost of the program is $50 per person for the entire series, and class size is limited to 30 to facilitate discussion among participants, he said. Registration slots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Meals and refreshments will be provided at each session.
The conference is sponsored by AgriLife Extension, with program support provided by Farm Credit Bank of Texas.
According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, women now manage 15 percent of the nation’s farms and about 38,500 farms in Texas.
“The program is based on the experiences of farm women who spend their lifetime learning how to be an involved business manager or partner with their farm husbands and other family members,” Johnson said.
“The reality is that over 90 percent of farm women usually end up managing their personal and farm business finances at some point in their lives as a result of death, divorce or disability.”
Speakers will include a variety of local professionals, practitioners and experts from AgriLife Extension, Texas Farm Bureau, the U.S. Department of Agriculture -Farm Service Agency and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service including an agricultural attorney, family financial management specialist and a registered investment advisor.
Participants will receive training in critical decision-making and information addressing the management of production risks, marketing risks, financial risks, personnel risks and estate planning.
Interested participants can request a brochure and registration form by contacting Johnson at 254-968-4144 or Lonnie Jenschke and Donna White, AgriLife Extension agents in Erath County, at 254-965-1460. The registration form is also available at http://stephenville.tamu.edu by clicking on the Annie’s Project link.
Additional information about the program and how other farm women nationally have benefitted is available at: http://www.anniesproject.org.
“Often farming women do not feel comfortable in the coffee shop network that is so familiar to farm and ranch men,” Johnson said. “Annie’s project provides a place where farm women can learn both from the perspectives of local agricultural professionals as well as the experiences of other workshop members without the pressure of sales pitches or solicitations.”