Annie's Project


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History of Annie's Project

Many farm and ranch women across the Midwestern and Southern states are taking part in a program called Annie's Project designed just for them. Many women relate to the mission of Annie's Project, which is to empower farm and ranch women to be better business partners through gaining an understanding and knowledge of "business" of farming and ranching. The project is in honor of Annie Fleck, a women who lived in a small town in Illinois.

ANNETTE KOHLHAGEN FLECK - the Woman Behind the Program

Annie PhotoThe mission of Annie’s Project is to empower farm women to be better business partners through networks and by managing and organizing critical information. Annie’s Project is based on the life a of farm woman who grew up in a small town in northern Illinois. Her goal was to marry a farmer and in 1947 she did. Annie spent her lifetime learning how to be an involved business partner with her husband.

 Challenges Annie faced included three generations living under one roof, low profitability, changing farm enterprises, and raising a family. Annie faced pressure from her brother, multiple sisters-in-law, and her mother-in-law. New regulations for selling processed food directly to the consumer forced many changes.

 Through it all, Annie kept records. She kept the farm business running, she kept the family running, and she kept her marriage. Annie knew deadlines, reporting requirements, and tax issues. She did the little management jobs that supported big management decisions. When big decisions had to be made, Annie was there with her records

Eventually, her records guided them to discontinue an egg-laying enterprise, a seasonal turkey enterprise, and a dairy enterprise. Other farmers with larger equipment and more resources could better run the farm. That prompted Annie and her husband to become the landowners renting to other farmers.
 When others looked upon decisions Annie had helped to make, their opinions were not always kind, and that was very hard on Annie. But she stuck with her decisions. She corrected mistakes, and learned from experiences.

For a more complete story, log on to the national Annie’s Project website.

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