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The True Unsung Heroes, Women in Agriculture

254w-and-253w-bull-twins.jpgWomen in agriculture are unsung heroes. When a woman vows to marry a farmer, she knows she is also marrying the operation, too, including the cattle, sheep, hogs, crops, hay and all of the work that goes with it. When marrying into farm life, she knows she will have a life full of blessings and a life full of trials. Yet, she takes it in stride, making it look easy as she balances things like off-the-farm work, home, family, food, bills, records, busy schedules, laundry, gardening, community service activities and the list goes on. However, despite how the farmwife manages to conquer the day-to-day tasks with ease, the one thing that is often forgotten is her. Today, I want to remind farm women how greatly appreciated they truly are.

heather-gessner.jpg That’s where Annie’s Project comes in. Annie’s Project is an educational program dedicated to strengthening women’s roles in the modern farm enterprise. This program is based on the life of a farm woman in Illinois, Annette (Kohlhagen) Fleck (1922-1997). Annie’s goal was to marry a farmer and she did. She spent her lifetime learning how to be an involved business partner with her farm husband. Of course, there were challenges including three generations living under one roof, low profitiability, changing farm enterprises and raising a family. Annie had to make many painful sacrifices that tested her conviction to be married to a farmer.

Last week, I attended a meeting of SASSY (Sustaining Annie's in South Dakota for Years to Come), an extension of Annie's Project. McCook County Extension Educator Heather Gessner hosts the five-part series for these women, and I had the opportunity to interview her. Listen to my interview below, and thanks to all the farm women out there. You are greatly appreciated!

BEEF Daily Quick Fact: The mission statement of Annie's Project is to empower farm women to be better business partners through networks and by managing and organizing critical information.