HOMEFRONT TO HEARTLAND EMPOWERING WOMEN IN AGRICULTURE & SMALL BUSINESSAlice Rhea1, Christopher Sneed2, Jane Starnes31Extension Area Specialist – Farm Management, The University of Tennessee Extension, Maryville, TN, 37804, firstname.lastname@example.orgExtension Agent – Family & Consumer Sciences, The University of Tennessee Extension, Maryville, TN, 37804, email@example.com (Non‐NACAA Member)3Research Associate III – The University of Tennessee Department of Agriculture & Resource Economics, Knoxville, TN 37996, firstname.lastname@example.org (Non‐NACAA Member) Abstract Homefront to Women play an important role in Tennessee agriculture (28.8% of all operators) providing leadership to financial management and decision-making aspects Heartland of family farms. These leadership roles create unique demands for female owner/operators as they balance the roles of owner/operator, employee, and in many cases mother /homemaker. Managing the challenges and stress of work/family balance has been identified as an educational need facing this group. participants Furthermore, participation by females in agriculture continues to grow as the farms with female principal operators has increased 6% (9,413 farms in 2002; 9,960 in 2007). As principal operators, these women need information, training, and capacity building to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to handle report increasing the risks associated with their operation. In lights of these trends, a needs assessment was conducted in 2008 with Tennessee female farmers. Feedback from the assessment demonstrated clear educational needs for instruction on topics such as external funding sources, record keeping, stress management, their savings labor issues and work/family balance. In response to these needs, intensive, one-day conferences were developed and conducted. Programs focused on and/or stress management, civic engagement, personal financial management, small business management, and healthy living. The target audience for this program included women agricultural producers, small business owners, and entrepreneurs in Tennessee. Participation for both conferences totaled 228 investments $171 women. On average, Homefront to Heartland participants have increased savings and/or investments $108.00 per month with an overall economic benefit of the conferences equal to $250,402. The program continues with plans for online learning modules in 2012. per month for a total $84,132 yearly. Based on conference topics such as decreasing spending, increasing income, and better financial management Program Results practices, conference participants Objectives estimated $250,402 in economic benefit to their business and/or personal lives. End of Conference Evaluations: • 54% of participants gained knowledge and/or skills to determine net worth. The following objectives were established for • 63% of participants gained knowledge and/or conference participants: skills to increase savings and/or reduce debt. • Develop a family and business net worth • 48% of participants gained knowledge and/or statement and spending plan. skills in developing a budget. • Identify methods for transferring tangible property. • 55% of participants became more motivated to begin or increase contributions to savings and • Identify appropriate savings and investment plans. investment options for achieving post‐ retirement goals. • 81% plan to implement an improved record‐ keeping system. • Utilize computer applications for personal and business financial record keeping. Educational Activities Six‐month Follow‐up Survey: 41% have implemented a record‐keeping system for their home, farm, and/or small • Homefront to Heartland featured in five East Tennessee newspapers business. reaching a readership of 185,000+ households. 94% improved their financial record‐keeping • News story announcing the Homefront to Heartland conference was system. aired on the local NBC affiliate reaching 33 East Tennessee Counties. 59% made/up‐dated their will. • Feature story with local small business owner published in Maryville Daily Times. 88% are working toward a new savings and/or • Conferences included general sessions and concurrent sessions. investment goal. • Facebook page and website house timely tips and up to date 88% followed a spending plan. information. 76% can better determine how to balance • Provide programs focused on stress management, civic engagement, investments among pre‐tax and after‐tax personal financial management and healthy living. options. 58% are more confident they can build wealth. Participant Comments 60% became more motivated to begin or increase contributions to savings. • “Very organized, informative, and well worth my day’s time.” • “This was excellent addressing issues…great combination of topics. Do it again!” • “Wonderful. Too many good session.” • “Real people…real stories…very relatable.” • “This was an extremely well put together conference with great topics and speakers to match. Kudos to the planning committee.” • “I enjoyed hearing from the individual women and how they made their life worth with everyday problems.”
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