By Kristan Krogman
Twenty one local women recently completed their last session of Annie’s Project. The sessions were held in White River every Wednesday evening at the Mellette County Museum. The program ran for six weeks, from September 5 to October 10.
Annie’s Project is a national program that is meant to provide education, information and support to farm and ranch women. Ladies from White River, Wood, Parmelee, Murdo, Okaton, Kadoka, and Martin were part of the sessions held in White River.
Each Wednesday, the women gathered for a meal and then settled in for presentations on a variety of topics meant to empower farm and ranch women, to help them better understand various aspects of the farm/ranch industry and help them to become better partners in their family’s business.
While there were several guest presenters, Adele Hardy and Robin Salverson with SDSU Extension offered a number of the group’s presentations. Topics ranged from family communication and goal setting to commodity marketing and hedging. Other topics included livestock and crop insurance, FSA/NRCS programs, estate and retirement planning, and record keeping and the Quicken program. Lori Jones of the Mellette/Todd FSA who helped organize the class, reported that all of the programs were very well received and that the ladies seemed to especially benefit from the great variety of topics covered.
Annie’s Project began in 2009, the vision of Ruth Hambleton whose mother Annie provided Ruth with the inspiration to start a project dedicated to helping farm and ranch women. Annie grew up in the 1920s and 30s in a small town in Illinois with the goal of marrying a farmer. She achieved her goal and set out to make the best life for her husband and family.
Through many challenges, Annie persevered, raising four children and helping with the farm. She kept her family running while contributing to the business in various ways by keeping on top of recording and reporting, deadlines, management issues, and an array of other matters. Because of her involvement, she not only helped with the small decisions, but also some of the big decisions. Sometimes she was criticized, sometimes her ideas were welcome, but through it all, she carried on. She was married to her farmer husband for fifty years and passed away in 1997.
When her mother died, Hambleton, an Extension educator, recognized the similarities between her mother and the many farm and ranch women she was in contact with. To help fulfill the educational, informational, and networking needs of farm and ranch women, Annie’s Project was born. The program has expanded greatly since its inception and classes are now offered in close to thirty states nation wide.