For those women in Callaway County who are or want to become involved in agriculture, an online course is being made available to help them fortify their foothold.
University of Missouri Extension and the Missouri Small Business Development Center for Agriculture, Food and Forestry are collaborating to offer the first virtual Annie's Project course.
Karisha Devlin, an ag business field specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Edina, said the United States Agriculture Department's national census in 2017 reported more than 58,000 women in Missouri identified as farmers or part of a farm-producing family.
Devlin also referred to statistics that noted 36 percent of farmers and ranchers nationwide are women.
Annie's Project will furnish women with education in production, market, financial, legal and human-risk management when it comes to agricultural resources.
Participants will attend a weekly two-hour live interactive online session via Zoom and complete self-paced activities and videos via Google Classroom. They will receive a total of 18 hours of risk-management education.
"What excites me the most about Annie's Project is that it doesn't matter what role a woman wants or a woman has in farming," Devlin said. "She might just want to be a producer or she might marry into a farm family and feel like she needs to be brought up to speed on decisions she'll have to weigh in on. Or she might be inheriting a farm and that comes with a set of challenges."
Two different times will be offered to take the Annie's Project course. When registering, participants are asked to select the time and days that best fit their schedules:
11 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesdays, May 4 through June 1; or
6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursdays, May 6 through June 3.
"We're hoping to reach women who have found scheduling in the past hard," Devlin said. "We're trying to find different ways to accomodate women where they are."
Due to funding from the Missouri SBDC and CARES Act, classes will be offered at no cost for those interested in attending. The deadline for registering is April 30 — class sizes will be limited to 20 individuals per timeslot.
To register for either the Tuesday or Thursday sessions, visit extension.missouri.edu/events/annie-s-project-online.