Clemson Extension plans educational retreat for female farmers
CLEMSON — The Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is offering a four-day educational retreat and networking opportunity for women in agribusiness.
The retreat, called “Annie’s Project,” returns to South Carolina for the sixth year May 17-20 at the Madren Conference Center and Inn in Clemson. Space is limited and registration is due by April 21. Registration is online.
Annie’s Project was founded in Illinois a decade ago and named for a woman who spent a lifetime learning to be an involved business partner with her husband, a farmer.
The four-day event includes educational presentations, networking opportunities and local farm tours. Presentation topics cover financial management, marketing, social media, risk assessment, insurance, law, estate planning and more.
Annie’s Project is sponsored by Clemson Extension, the Clemson Agribusiness New and Beginning Farmer Program, ArborOne Farm Credit, AgSouth Farm Credit and the South Carolina Women’s Agricultural Network. (SCWAgN). Presenters include experts from Clemson, AgSouth, Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP and other organizations.
“Women are the fastest-growing segment in agriculture right now,” said Clemson Extension agent and Annie’s Project state coordinator Jennifer Boyles. “Some are looking for something new. They want to work with the earth. A lot of them are retiring from careers or they are receiving family land through estates. They are seeing that farming is very gratifying. Annie’s Project offers are great opportunity for women to network and to learn tips for successful entrepreneurship.”
The share of U.S. farms operated by women has nearly tripled over the past three decades, from 5 percent in 1978 to 14 percent by 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
To date, more than 100 South Carolina women have participated in Annie’s Project. Women from across the state attend. They’re diverse in age and background. Some are college students. Some are retired women. Some are professionals looking for new careers.
“We have a really diverse group,” Boyles said. “We’ve had three generations of a family come in together.”
Registration is $150, which covers all materials, meals and lodging.