November 22, 2019

Rural Women Digging Deep

Furthering education through local support

By Morgan Ball, ISUEO WIA Student Program Assistant

As an underserved audience women are taking matters into their own hands. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach county coordinators- are recognizing the need for additional agriculture education for farm women through local extension programs. Rural Women of North Iowa is a new program designed to meet this growing need. It was developed after a national Annie’s Project course was conducted through a partnership between Palo Alto and Emmet County.

Annie’s Project is dedicated to strengthening women’s roles in the modern farm enterprise. Traditionally participants in Annie’s Project meet for six sessions. The course teaches problem solving, record keeping, and decision-making skills.

Britney Rosburg and Angie Strohman are planning and preparing the meetings for Rural Women of North Iowa. “We were inspired by Annie’s Project and Managing for Today and Tomorrow to create Rural Women of North Iowa because of the success they had throughout the county,” Rosburg states, “Through the evaluations and conversations the participants expressed interest in attending future educational programs for women involved in agriculture. There were some topics the ladies wanted to decipher more, such as agronomy. Women are very much involved in agriculture as professionals and in their operations.”

Nicole Tifft, a participant in Rural Women of North Iowa, currently owns 40 cow/calf pairs with her brother and helps her parents raise 600 acres of corn and soybeans. Nicole graduated from Annie’s Project six years ago and was motivated to dig deeper. “Anytime there is an opportunity for me to further my agricultural knowledge and network in the industry, I find that extremely valuable to my future in ag.”

The first Rural Women of North Iowa Meeting had eight participants from Palo Alto and Emmet County. Britney and Angie expect the program to grow as they move forward, “We hope to increase the attendance at future events and will cater to as many people and topics we can. Rosburg says, “We sent a survey out to past Annie’s Project participants asking them how often they wanted to meet, ideas for topics, and times to hold the program. Our decisions for topics are based off the responses we received.”

This year the counties plan to cover agronomy, marketing, and farm finances. “We will advertise each program so new participants can join. Participants can attend one or all events based on their interests. There is no age target, we reached out to FFA and college students in hope to have some of them attend future events,” Rosburg says. The guest for the winter meeting is Margi Guyler-Alaniz of FarmHer. Rural Women of North Iowa participants will have the opportunity to hear her story.

“I really liked the informal setting with both structured presentation and time to ask questions and address them as they come up, says Tiff, “I would like to see topics on grain marketing, cash rent agreements and land ownership. I truly enjoy the networking opportunity that Rural Women of North Iowa provides and the chance to expand my knowledge in the agriculture field.”

Women interested in participating in any of these programs can contact Britney Rosburg at britneyr@iastate.edu or Angie Strohman at angies@iastate.edu or call either Emmet or Palo Alto County ISU Extension and Outreach office.

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