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Reaching Diverse Annie’s Project Audiences in East Central and Southeast Missouri Hambleton-Heins, L.1 1. Hambleton-Heins, Lynn, Regional Agriculture Business Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, Potosi, Missouri 63664, Washington County, HambletonL@missouri.edu Abstract Since 2009, five Annie’s Project—Education for Farm Women classes (57 participants) have been taught in East Central and Southeast Missouri. Missouri is known for its diverse agricultural commodities. In the region of interest, the lay of the land largely influences agricultural production. Shallow topsoil is the basis for the large number of livestock and forage operations near the Ozark Mountains, while fertile farm ground near the Mississippi River is abundant with row crops. Annie’s Project participants in East Central and Southeast Missouri are equally as diverse as the terrain, and they represent approximately 12 farm types. Many Annie’s Project facilitators have been faced with the challenge of reaching these diverse audiences while maintaining the goals of the program. On the other hand, the diversity of the participants is a great strength of Annie’s Project because farm women love to draw from others’ experiences. Many methods were introduced to effectively teach participants, such as split sessions or one-on-one contact. Overall, 61% of the participants reported implementing or changing a behavior, such as checking or changing how property is titled, or adding POD/TOD on titles and accounts. Participants rated the value of the topics covered in Annie’s Project at 4.33 on a scale of 1 to 5, indicating satisfaction with the material received. Overall, participants rated the program 4.75. Program Organization Teaching MethodsLevel I Annie’s Project—Education for Farm Women Programs Participants complete a demographic intake form during the firstare typically 18 hours in length, held over a period of six weeks. session, giving facilitators insight about the educational needs of theParticipants receive education and materials on the five areas of audience. Many of the risk area topics covered in class areagricultural risk as defined by the USDA: Production, marketing, universal, applying to all participants, however; some topics mayfinancial, legal and human resource. A typical class format may need to be adjusted depending on the audience. For instance, ainclude guest speaker lectures, class activities, discussion time class comprised of row crop-only farm women will not require aand peer mentoring. Cape Girardeau County, MO Graduating piece on livestock risk protection. Split sessions may be offered if Annie’s Project Class – Spring 2011 resources are available, but this can be problematic if participants Program Audience wish to hear both sessions. Individualized attention may be given toSince it’s inception in 2003, over 7,000 farm women from 25 participants with unique educational needs, such as a shitakestates have participated in Annie’s Project. How can mushroom venture or petting zoo business.facilitators maintain the goals of the program whileeffectively reaching participants from such diverse farm Program Impactstypes? One of the great strengths of the Annie’s Project • 100% of participants completed personality profiles to enhanceprogram is it’s ability to adapt to the educational needs of a communication with various personalitiesdiverse agricultural nation. The region of interest for this • 100% of participants completed a fabricated balance sheet andposter is Southeast and East Central Missouri. Five Level I calculated financial performance ratiosAnnie’s Project—Education for Farm Women Programs • 100% of participants wrote a mission statement for their businesshave been held in East Central and Southeast Missouri plan, and many women began writing a business plansince 2009, reaching 57 farm women from very differentfarm backgrounds. The chart below summarizes the • 60% completed a set of written goals for their businesspercentage of participants by farm type. • 67% located various documents such as insurance policies, Warren County mother and daughter prepare a balance sheet during a 2012 POD’s, and beneficiaries Annie’s Project Program “Knowledge of the information you provided eased Participants by Farm Production Type my mind about passing our beef business to the next Agritourism generation. I can do it.” -Ste. Genevieve County participant 2011 Equine Poultry “I have been taking ideas from Annies ProjectGoats/Sheep home and bringing up topics about how to do a Horticulutre better job with records, cost, and marketing.Hay/Pasture [Annie’s Project] has given me a drive to Row Crop succeed.” -Cape Girardeau County participant 2010 Cattle 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45%