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WVU Extension Service offers farm management training to aid local women in agriculture

Dec. 27, 2013 @ 08:09 PM

There's a new resource for women who are interested in building or improving a viable farm business. Annie's Project is a six-session training course being offered by the West Virginia University Extension Service that provides risk management training in business planning, record keeping, financial analysis, farm and food safety, and networking.

This localized approach to empowering women in agriculture is customized to meet the needs in our region, providing a unique peer-learning environment and helping ensure that every class is a valuable learning experience.

Anne Banks, a lifelong farmer from Ritchie County, is looking forward to learning new methods and to offering encouragement to young women who are just getting into farming.

"I like to see that these young girls are able to be confident that they can be a farmer, not just a farmer's helper," Banks said. "I like to see women able to express their way of doing it (farming) instead of trying to mimic the men," she added, "because women do approach it differently."

Banks said she feels that her years on the farm can help her offer real world advice that will help others be successful.

"The risks and the problems are probably always going to be there, regardless of how smart you are, and you have to learn to handle that," she said.

Twenty-nine percent of West Virginia's farmers are women. The number of women farming in West Virginia continues to rise significantly. From 2002 to 2007, female farm-owners or operators in the state increased 31 percent, which was about three times the national average. That makes Annie's Project a good bet for West Virginia.

The program will be offered in six, three-hour sessions on Monday evenings from 6-9 p.m. at the Putnam County Technical Center, 101 Roosevelt Blvd., Eleanor, beginning on Monday Jan. 13. There is a $25 registration fee to cover the food costs and pre-registration is required. Enrollment space is limited and participants must make a concerted effort to attend all six sessions.

To pre-register or to find out more you can contact the WVU Putnam Co. Extension Office at 304-586-0217 or the Cabell Co. Extension Office at 304-743-7141 by Monday, Jan. 6. For general information, visit www.anr.ext.wvu.edu/ag-women.

Annie' s Project is offered in partnership with the WVU Small Farm Center, West Virginia Department of Agriculture, West Virginia Farm and Food Coalition, and Farm Credit of the Virginias. Grant funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture through the Northeast Center for Risk Management Education.

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