Female Farmers Focus of Webinar


COURT HOUSE – In 1900, almost half of U.S. residents made their living on farms. Now it is barely 1 percent. There are about 800,000 full-time farmers in America today. According to the last census, fewer than 20 percent are women. In 2011, Annie’s Project N.J. started to encourage women to put their hands to the tiller and to equip them with the knowledge to be successful.

The Aug. 15 webinar held at the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Center was one of those tool-building exercises. Jenny Carleo is agricultural agent in charge. Carleo oversaw the webinar, which was being conducted from a remote location by Dr. Barbara O’Neill. This was the third training in a series of five being conducted under the Annie’s Project N.J.

While there was only one person physically present at the extension center, over 160 signed up to watch the event from all over the country. This presentation was entitled, “Go for the Goal: Business And Personal Finance Applications.”

The No. 1 quote, “A goal is a dream with a deadline,” was attributed to Napoleon Hill. Farming is not just a vocation; after all, it is also a business. For whatever dream or goal a farmer has, O’Neil reminded the listeners, there is a price tag.

“What do you want to achieve?” O’Neill asked. “And when do you want to achieve it?”

O’Neill said it was essential to set time limits for goals. She also warned about obstacles one could encounter and devised strategies to overcoming them. She suggested small steps to accumulating money, including saving the change in one’s pockets and purse and putting it into a jar or a piggy bank. O’Neill told everyone to set concrete goals and prioritize them.

O’Neill has a doctorate in philosophy and is a certified financial planner. Both Annie’s Project N.J. and the Rutgers Cooperative Extension have numerous resources that anyone may avail themselves of simply by logging on to www.njaes.rutgers.edu/sshw/.

Besides bucolic serenity, a farm consists of hard work and overcoming immense challenges, both modern and timeless. It also presents tremendous opportunities for women as well as men. Annie’s Project N.J. wants to help get people, especially women, get their start in agriculture.

If anyone thinks they would like to pursue a career in agriculture contact Carleo at the Rutgers Extension Center at carleo@njaes.rutgerss.edu.

To contact Helen McCaffrey, email hmccaffrey@cmcherald.com.