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Risk Management Education for Wisconsin's Women Farmers
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Risk Management Education for Wisconsin's Women Farmers


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  • Spin-off programs: A TV series is considered to be a "Spin-off" where one or more of the regular characters were taken from the cast of a previous series.
  • Beginning in 2002 the US Ag Census allowed farms to identify up to 3 operators and collect demographic data on them, rather than just the principal operator. -- so the number of women identified as farm operators may have increased drastically from 1997 to 2002, but in many ways is finally catching up to reflecting what has been happening all along – joint decisions with male/female partnersThe 9,176 increase in female principal operators – and where they are clustered in the state (Dane, St. Croix) cynic in us may say this number is inflated because of the definition of a farmThe definition of a farm employed by the USDA for data collection purposes is "any operation that sells at least one thousand dollars of agricultural commodities or that would have sold that amount of produce under normal circumstances."
  • In 2002 we received $2,000 from NCR RME to pilot two programs targeting women farmers and we piloted Heart of the Farm in Richland County and Eau Claire. In 2003 we received a larger grant to hold more conferences across the state.
  • Number of classes, number of women, basic topics covered, Ways we evaluate Heart of the Farm and Annie’s ProjectEnd of session evaluationsFollow up evaluations to measure behavior changes and use of information
  • Starting in 2008 the follow up evaluation included a question on what you value most about heart of the farm
  • Quick survey of agents and Technical college instructors gives some insight on how interaction has improved or changed since they’ve hosted a Heart of the Farm conferenceSeen a resource by the women farmers – and since they may play the role of gathering info before decisions are made – this is a more direct line of communication
  • To study core financial information, financial analysis and financial management To incorporate farm financial information into the fabric of farm life
  • In addition to being relatively new to farming, this population tends to focus on alternative and value-added crops. Wisconsin farms with women as principal operators average 94 acres, as compared to a general average farm size of 194 acres. These smaller farms are more likely to rely on alternative markets including value-added products and market diversification techniques including fresh market and direct sales.Annie’s Project for Value-Added and Beginning Farmers is specifically designed to meet the needs of these women including sessions on setting business goals, assessing skills and gaps in management teams, business planning, market research, establishing a business entity and tax implications, financial management, and food regulations.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Joy Kirkpatrick, Center for Dairy Profitability Anne Pfeiffer, Agricultural Innovation Center Jenny Vanderlin, Center for Dairy Profitability Risk Management Education for Wisconsin Women Farmers
    • 2. For the next 75 minutes…  History, mission, development, & impacts of Heart of the Farm and original Annie’s Projects (Joy)  Financial management spin-off programs (Jenny)  Annie’s Project for beginning farmers/value added enterprises (Anne)  Questions, discussion
    • 3. Wisconsin Farm Women  38,263 female farm operators* (16% increase from 2002 Ag Census)  9,176 identified as the principal operator* (25% increase) *US Ag Census, 2007
    • 4. Women in Agriculture Trends* Women's Involvement Selected Farm Tasks 0 20 40 60 80 100 Chem Apps Spread Manure Other Field Work Rock Picking Haying Breeding Cow s Feeding Cow s Clean Stalls/Barn Calf Care Cleaning Equip Milking Cow s Repair Machinery Gardening Errands Bookkeeping Task Percentage Regularly Sometimes  Most farm women are responsible for farm bookkeeping and bill paying  Farm errands and vegetable gardening are common tasks  Women are more likely to work with livestock than do field work  Women’s age influences the tasks that women do; in particular, almost two-thirds of the women interviewed (63%) contributed 40 or more hours of on-farm work per week. * The Roles of Women on Wisconsin Dairy Farms at the Turn of the 21st Century. PATS Research Report No. 10. Nov, 2001.
    • 5. Women in Agriculture Heart of the Farm  Overall Mission  Farm Management and Production Education for Women  Improving Farm Business Decision-Making  Long-Term Goal  “…address the needs of farm women by providing education on pertinent topics, connecting them with agricultural resources, and creating support networks.”  Funding Source  North Central Regional Risk Management Education Center  Risk Management Agency (2008 – 2011)  and the Center for Dairy Profitability,  Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Farm Service Agency, various local sponsors
    • 6. Heart of the Farm Programs 2002-2010 2002 2 Pilot 2006 6 Conferences 2003 4 Conferences 2007 4 Conferences 2004 6 Conferences 2008 5 full day conferences; 2 half day 2005 2 Conferences 2009 5 full day conferences; 1 hybrid 2010 7 Conferences
    • 7. Annie’s Project  Meet 4-6 times  3 – 4 hrs/session  Risk management  Smaller class size  Goal: more depth to topics
    • 8. Value of Heart of the Farm Contact for info on where you can view this video clip
    • 9. Opened the “gate” to the farm  Farm succession  Leadership positions in local organizations  Connect with resources  Work with farms that didn’t use Extension before  Financial evaluation and recordkeeping  Farm management team (Team Profit)  Production and housing questions
    • 10. Changes to your operation  “I’ve learned better ways to look at my operation positively and to be more patient when things get tough. I think I’ve learned better communication skills and planning skills to manage market ups and downs.”  “…..improved relationships with husband and family members; expanded farm operations, land, livestock, etc.; planning for more and feeling in control and better equipped.”  “Able to ask more informed questions…”  “Changed to computer record keeping system, decided to designate “time off” work for just taking care of myself, explored hiring an accountant/investment advisor, set up a more efficient bill paying system at home, revised my/our will(s) & updated insurance policy beneficiaries, started running and checking credit report annually”
    • 11. Are you a better manager? Contact for info on where you can view this video clip
    • 12. Heart of the Farm Spinoffs  Health Care  Planning for the Unexpected Tomorrow  Financial Management  Record-keeping Basics  Accounting Software  Financial Management 101  Bookkeepers Boot Camp (new 2010)  Funding Source  USDA – North Central Regional Risk Management Education Center (NCRMEC), Risk Management Agency, Center for Dairy Profitability, FSA and UW-Extension County Offices.
    • 13. Heart of the Farm – Spinoffs Structure  1-hour session (Record-Keeping Basics)  1-day conference  Software: AAIMS, Quickbooks  Bookkeepers Boot Camp  3-hour session (Financial Management 101)
    • 14. Heart of the Farm -- Spinoffs Financial Management  Purpose  To extend financial management into the everyday fabric of farm life for Wisconsin’s Heart of the Farm Women.  Improve basic accounting and record-keeping  Because they asked for it  Objectives  To motivate farm women to accept responsibility of keeping good financial records  To empower women to make reasonable judgments about finances and business.
    • 15. Heart of the Farm – Spinoffs Demographics  Most Attendees Were From Dairy Farms  Followed by beef, then grain, no hog farmers  42% Worked Off The Farm  Averaged 30 hours per week  Wide Distribution of Ages  Largest participation age 45-54, followed by 35-44  Average Size of Farm is 600 Acres
    • 16. Record-Keeping Basics  Why Record-Keep?  Record-Keeping Systems  Hand-Kept  Computerized  Types of Accounting Systems  Cash vs. Accrual  Review of Computer Programs  Decision-Making Tools  Benchmarking  Partial Budget
    • 17. Accounting Software AAIMS & Quickbooks Structure Objectives  One day workshop -- 6 hours (includes lunch)  Computer lab with QB/AAIMS installed  Small groups – 25 Maximum  Exercises:  Create Company file, Create & modify Chart of Accounts, Record basic revenue & expense transactions  Lecture(s):  Importance, double-entry accounting, cash vs. accrual accounting  Evaluate:  Financial Performance of Farm  Improve:  Financial Skills  Problem Solving Skills  Identify:  Critical Issues  Plan for Farm Future  Develop:  Accrual Financial Statements  Better Decisions Based on Accrual Accounting Practices
    • 18. Fabric of Farm Life Financial Management Structure Objective/Theme  3-hour session  Introduction and Goals  Academic Lecture: content and context  Participation: construct financial statements  Conversation: how does this fit into every day life?  Participation: solution to financial statements, analysis of financial position/performance Financial CORE -Information -Analysis -Management
    • 19. Bookkeepers’ Boot Camp  5-6 Hours (lunch)  Introductions  How and Why of Managing Records  FSA Bookkeeping Requirements  What Recordkeeping can do for Your Bottom Line  Recordkeeping Options  How & Whys of Recordkeeping  Organizing  Requirements  Position & Performance  Decision-Making Structure Objective/Theme
    • 20. Audience for Financial Management Spin-Offs  Annie’s Project  Dairy  Added Value/Direct Marketing  Hmong Community
    • 21. Assessing the Need of Beginning and Value – Added Women Farmers Unique risk management and networking needs  Often don’t grow up “just knowing”  May not be aware of existing resources  May need different resources than currently exist  Lack business readiness skills  FSA loan officers find women to be consistently less prepared than men to apply for a loan in terms of business planning, financial projections, crop insurance, etc.
    • 22. Why a Targeted Program?  Rapidly growing population of women farmers  9,176 Wisconsin farms identified a woman as the principal operator, an increase of 25% over 2002 and 58% over 1997 data  1/3 of these women are “new” farmers  Average farm size is about ½ of state average  High reliance on alternative markets including value-added products and market diversification techniques including fresh market and direct sales
    • 23. Participant Focused Development  Curriculum adaptation and development based on previous Annie’s Project sessions offered to WI Dairy Farmers  Review panel of 6 new and experienced women farmers  Overwhelming interest in pilot session
    • 24. Who are the Participants?  Acres Owned 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
    • 25. Who are the Participants?  Land Owned vs. Land Managed Manage/Operate less than owned Manage/Operate same as owned Manage/Operate more than owned
    • 26. Who are the Participants?  Farming Experience more than 25 years 10 to 24 years 2 to 9 years 1 year has never farmed
    • 27. Who are the Participants?  Annual Farm –related Income (Gross) Under $10,000 $10,001-$25,000 $25,001-$50,000 Over $300,000 Abstain
    • 28. Curriculum Overview  Personality traits and skills  Assessing business feasibility  Conducting and analyzing market research  Financial Management  Food Safety Regulations  Additional resources for land access, financing, grants, and bushiness planning
    • 29. Colors of Personality  “My communication with prospective employees/pastor/customers has greatly improved. (esp. listening) Identifying different styles of communication & respecting other’s styles”  “It gave me particular insights into how my husband & I work & how that affects our farm business”
    • 30. Assessing Business Feasibility  “This presentation, and especially the homework, allowed us to discuss openly that we are not at the same place.”  “This created much discussion for my husband (business partner) and me. It forced us to realize and discuss how our vision of the future of the business is different and that we need to compromise (each of us) to have a similar vision for the future.”
    • 31. Taxes and Business Entities  “This presentation brought to light that our informal business operation needs a legal definition.”  “This session was vital for me, and far too short! I realize that others might be more knowledgeable in this area, but I felt that it was too short – especially because we spent so much time on the earlier topics and didn’t get into the last part of his subject matter.”
    • 32. Conducting Market Research  “I do this for a living, but didn’t realize how much I knew because was never officially “trained” in it. So this session gave me some good websites for my ag businesses and reinforced my confidence.”  “I am researching adding a value-added product using the beef I raise. I will do some research data provided thru sources I learned about in class to determine what would be a marketable product.”
    • 33. Food Safety Rules and Regulations  “Presented ideas for me to incorporate in better land handling procedures.”  “Once I (we) have determined exactly what we intend to produce/grow, I will utilize all the resources provided that apply to our produce & operation.”
    • 34. Financial Management 101  “I have to report to the FSA on a balance sheet yearly & this was helpful to refresh my memory. It would have been useful to get some resources for how to best collect the info needed for the balance sheet (Notebooks, quick books, charts/logs, etc…)”  “It will act as a starting point for me this year. I didn’t even know any of the terms, so this de- mystified it for me.”
    • 35. Taxes…part II  “Keep better records, especially log book in transfer.”  “Understand depreciation much better.”  “I will go home and make more files for different categories of my farm business – so I’ll be able to track items better for tax purposes.”
    • 36. Curriculum Evaluation 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Too much Just right Too little
    • 37. 6 Month Evaluation 0 5 10 15 Personality assessment/developing a… Cost/benefit analysis Business entity alternatives for your… Market research Financial management Food safety rules and regulations Good Agricultural Practices Organizing for farm tax preparation Farm Service Agency programs WI DATCP’s Farm Center Grant opportunities Since participating in the Annie’s Project have you used information or resources from the classes in any of these categories (check all that apply):
    • 38. What did you value most from Annie’s Project?  Professional, supportive approach and access to resource people  Business entities and taxes  Feasibility  Financial  Networking  Market research  Business feasibility analysis and planning  On-going connections/resources  Personality assessment and management teams  Regulatory information
    • 39. What additional topics would be valuable?  Field trips  Financial management  Grants info  Health insurance  Marketing  Networking  More homework  Taxes and legal entities  Weights and measurement regulations
    • 40. Participant Needs and Approaches  Very interactive  Dedicate significant time to introductions  Incorporate networking time  Use small group discussion format  Frequent check-ins and feedback  Verbal and written evaluations through-out sessions  Week-to-week email reminders  Interested in discussing ideas as well as action planning  Hungry for information and eager to learn  Interested in longer classes, more sessions and more homework
    • 41. Further Needs 0 5 10 15 20 Second level of topics for the direct marketer or beginning farmer Financial management and investing for farmers/farm families Annie’s Projects that are offered through video/web conferencing Would you participate in other workshops structured as Annie’s Projects?
    • 42. Thoughts on Women-focused Classes  23 out of 25 survey respondents said having a women-only class is important  “Although it would be somewhat beneficial to have my husband here to obtain the same information, I believe that there’s more open discussion and spontaneous interactions/conversations when women are primarily in the class.”  “It’s nice to have peers/role models of women in farming. Having their own businesses.”  “Dynamics in primarily female audiences are different than co- ed. In some situations, such as this course, those dynamics and the resulting communication are almost as valuable as the information.”  “Not enough women feel comfortable discussing these subjects with men, and there are still men who feel they know “better” than women how to do business.”  “Women not always aware of options and may need to overcome fear of going into business for themselves.”
    • 43. Joy Kirkpatrick, Center for Dairy Profitability Anne Pfeiffer, Agricultural Innovation Center Jenny Vanderlin, Center for Dairy Profitability Thank You