Penn State offers risk management program for women in farming

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Of the 3.3 million U.S. farm operators counted in the 2007 Census of Agriculture, about 30 percent, or more than 1 million, were women.

Despite the numbers, women farmers are an underserved audience, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Responding to a need for education specifically designed to help women manage business risks and enhance the financial viability of their agricultural operations, Penn State Extension will offer a workshop series to be held at six locations across Pennsylvania.

National program

Annie’s Project is a national Cooperative Extension educational program designed to strengthen women’s roles in farming. Workshops provide educational tools needed to make critical business decisions and develop a local network of support for continuing education.

Extension will offer Annie’s Project over five sessions beginning Monday, Nov. 7, and continuing on Nov. 21, Dec. 5, Dec. 19 and Jan. 9, 2012. All classes will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., except for the double session on Dec. 5, which will run from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Pa. locations

Classes will be held at Penn State Extension offices in Lancaster, Mercer and Allegheny counties and at AgChoice Farm Credit offices in Chambersburg (Franklin County), Yeagertown (Mifflin County) and Lewisburg (Union County).

Education covers five general areas of risk management: production, marketing, financial, legal and human-resources risk. Instruction is tailored to women’s learning preferences and combines lectures, discussion, guest speakers, and individual and small group activities.

Topics include financial statements, recordkeeping, farm business planning, marketing plans, estate planning, exploring alternative enterprises, insurance and more.

Cost and details

Cost of the workshop is $75 per person. To register, visit the web at http://agsci.psu.edu/annies-project or call toll-free 877-489-1398.

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