Annie's Project coming to Osage County to empower women in agriculture

Susan Riley
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Whether you were born a farm girl or are considering a second career in agriculture, there is a lot to know when it comes to the business side of farming and ranching.  

That’s why the Osage County OSU Extension office is happy to bring back Annie’s Project, a six-week course that is designed to empower women to be successful in agriculture through education, networks and resources.

Today’s farms, whether big or small, are multi-faceted operations encompassing everything from estate planning and insurance to leases and livestock/grain marketing.  

Kathryn Chambers, who came into ranching via her marriage to Osage County rancher David Chambers, took the course previously with her oldest daughter and is now gearing up to take the course again with her youngest daughter.  

“Without having gone to college to get a ranch management degree, it’s difficult to know the ins and outs of what services are available to people in agriculture,” she said.  

Topics on women and money as well as family dynamics go a long way in helping navigate the challenges of maintaining a successful farming business through the generations. 

“With the high cost of farming and ranching, you have to plan well if you intend for your children to inherit the operation,” Chambers said.  

Jennifer Boyles, Annie’s Project coordinator for the Clemson Cooperative Extension in Hartsville, South Carolina, said that more women now are getting into farming than ever before and even at a rate higher than men.  

“They tend to be looking at more smaller operations, more sustainable. I think women have a real interest in their communities and wanting to make things better. They want to be able to know where their food comes from, they want to provide for their families,” she said.  

Annie’s Project will be held at the Osage County OSU Extension office on the Osage County Fairgrounds beginning Aug. 24 and running every Tuesday through Sept. 28. Dinner will be provided. 

Women interested in signing up for Annie’s Project may call the extension office at 918-287-4170 or email Cheyenne Patrick at cheyenne.patrick@okstate.edu. Cost is $75 for all six sessions.  

Annie's Project was launched in 2003 by University of Illinois Extension Educator Ruth Hambleton in tribute to her mother, Annette Kohlhagen Fleck, who operated a farm with her husband in northern Illinois from 1947-97.