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Conference Name Reaching aspiring, beginning and direct marketing women farmers through Annie’s Project

Anne Pfeiffer


Building upon the demonstrated success of the Annie’s Project model nation-wide, University of Wisconsin Extension staff adapted the Annie’s Project structure to reach aspiring and beginning Wisconsin farm women planning to manage value-added enterprises through the combination of a six-week course and two conference-based abridged sessions. This adapted curriculum emphasizes business/strategic planning; direct marketing analysis, and production strategies for small scale, value-added enterprises.

In the development of this program, the project team collaborated with current and aspiring value-added sector farm women to develop the curriculum for six, three-hour sessions. These women were key advisors, providing valuable input on the content and delivery needs of beginning value-added farm women.

The program was piloted in Dane County, the county with the most female principal farm operators in Wisconsin. Participants gained the skills they need to analyze business feasibility and prepare a marketing plan, learned the steps to secure financing and learned about grants available for sustainable and value-added enterprises. Participants also learned about the organizational resources available to them as they continue to develop their business plans and farm enterprises.

The project team investigated the best method of facilitating networking among and with the participants after the formal six-week workshops series. The project used a tailored marketing strategy to reach the target audience, much different from the traditional marketing of Extension programs to established commodity farmers. This session will discuss the adapted curriculum and marketing and provide the results from the pilot workshop held in January – February, 2010.

Presentation Materials