Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Value-added Agriculture and Women in Agriculture programs have developed a series of course to help women understand and improve their agricultural enterprises. Course content includes business planning, risk management, financial tools and strategies, estate planning and transition, and working with government agencies, agricultural service providers, and agricultural lenders. Courses have been developed by a team of educators and piloted primarily in Iowa before being offered nationally. Among these are the Annie’s Project basic course; Managing for Today and Tomorrow; Financial Planning: Moving Beyond the Basics; and Women Managing Cattle. This project has multiple funding sources: U.S. Department of Agriculture programs including Risk Management Education, Beginning Farmers and Rancher Development, and Iowa State University.
RISE has worked with program leaders and educators to develop pre-, post-, and follow-up surveys aligned with the content in each course. All surveys can be accessed online, but print version are available when necessary. RISE also developed standardized data collection, data management, analysis, and reporting protocols in order to be able to combine and communicate results at the local, state, and national levels. Course facilitators receive summaries of the results for their sites, including feedback that can be used to improve content, speakers, or instructional methods. Results aggregated by state and/or nationally assist educators in documenting the effectiveness of the courses and as a tool for continuous improvement.