Growing numbers of female farm operators make timing right for Annie’s Project

JAMESTOWN – Women engage in a wide variety of jobs on farms in western New York and across the country. In Chautauqua County, 228 women, or 16 percent, are primary farm operators according to the 2007 Census of Agriculture. Women farm owner/operators are on the rise, with a 3 percent increase from 2002 to 2007 in Chautauqua County. This is a trend occurring nationally, with more women owning farm businesses or becoming more highly involved in decision-making.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County plans to engage farm women in discussions of farm business and risk management this winter through Annie’s Project.

During February and March, farm women across the region are encouraged to participate in Annie’s Project at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County’s office in Jamestown. Annie’s Project is a series of six weekly discussion/networking sessions. Each participant will receive a professional resource binder including local contacts, fact sheets, worksheets, computer-based tools and more. This learning opportunity will help both experienced and newly engaged farm women to gain confidence in their ability to access information, understand farm economics, evaluate their businesses and make decisions leading to greater farm success.

Annie’s Project, created in 2003 by Ruth Hambleton, University of Illinois Extension, is an agricultural risk management program dedicated to strengthening women’s roles in their family businesses. The curriculum is designed to empower women farmers in managing information systems used in critical decision making processes and to build local networks.

Those with questions or who are interested in registering should contact Virginia Carlberg, 664-9502 Ext. 202 or or visit the website The course costs $60 per person with limited scholarships available to those who inquire. The deadline for registration is Friday.

New York Annie’s Project has been made possible by Cornell Cooperative Extension with gracious funding from Farm Credit East, Workforce Development Institute, NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets, USDA Risk Management Agency, and the Northeast Center for Extension Risk Management Education. This material is based upon work supported by USDA NIFA (National Institute of Food & Agriculture) under award number 2012-49200-20031.

Plan today to join farm women across the state and nation in building your toolbox of decision aids and network of advisors by participating in Annie’s Project. This is a great opportunity to reach out to a neighboring farm woman and get to know her better by inviting her to join you in participating in Annie’s Project. Call or register today for your opportunity to become part of a growing number of confident farm women influencing decisions about their farm’s future.

The Agriculture Program is one of many programs offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County. CCE-Chautauqua is a community-based educational organization, affiliated with Cornell University, Chautauqua County Government, the NYS SUNY system, and the federal government through the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. For more information, call 664-9502 or visit our website at University Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities.