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A learning experience for women in agriculture

United Community Bank and the North Dakota State University Extension service have teamed up to bring a program focused on educating women of all backgrounds to become better agribusiness managers and partners.

Women in Ag is a five-week course focused on five key areas of agribusiness that go into running and maintaining a day-to-day operation: Human Resources, Financial Risk, Insurance, Market Risk and Succession Planning.

“We have an ag-focused customer base and we really wanted to provide an opportunity,” said Jennifer Hubrig, United Community Bank Vice President — Marketing & Human Resources. “We find that women are very active in their role within the farm — whether they’re working off the farm and still assisting at home, whether they’re a stay at home and still assisting at home or sometimes they’re a full-on partner or running the operation themselves.”

Hubrig adds that women bring a unique perspective to their operations and wanted to give them an opportunity to come together, learn from each other and pick up some new information on specific risk topics to become better and more effective managers.

In the 2017 Ag Census, the number of male farmers and ranchers fell 1.7% to 2.17 million from 2012 to 2017 while the number of female farmers and ranchers rose by nearly 27% to 1.23 million. Around 56% of all farms have at least one female decision-maker.

According to Paige Brummund, NDSU Extension Agent, the extension service had held a class called Annie’s Project in the past.

“NDSU has done some women in ag programs in the past but it’s been about five years or so since we’ve had some attendance at them,” Brummund explained. “We partnered up to revamp some of the curriculum and topic areas to offer this program to the community.”

The seminars offered through this new Women in Ag program follows similar topics to Annie’s Project but modified to better suit the needs of women in the area.

“I utilized some of the needs assessments that I’ve done with farm women over the past decade or so to see what they’re most interested in,” Brummund added.

The class is open to farm women of every knowledge level and involvement in their operation. Brummund explained they are targeting the mid-knowledge level to benefit everyone.

Another key factor to the program mentioned by both Brummund and Hubrig is networking.

“No matter the level of your involvement in agriculture, we want you to feel welcome to come to this program and meet other women in ag as well,” Brummund said.

Hubrig highlighted that one of the goals is for the women to walk away from the program with established friendships and relationships with people they can reach out to.

To make the experience less like a classroom, each seminar will be held in a different location around town, include a guest speaker that specializes in the topic for the day and have an activity for each session.

“We really wanted to highlight different businesses within Ward County and we also just wanted to provide an opportunity for women who are really busy in all different ways in their lives,” Hubrig said. “It’s not only to get the opportunity to learn, but to also come out, have some fun, enjoy the company of women in the same field that they are and enjoy themselves.”

The program includes Off the Vine, Bearscat Bakery, Buffalo Wings & Rings, The Tap Room, The Foundry and Pockets Full of Posies.

For the discussion on human resources, Christie Jaeger from Common Ground N.D. will lead a discussion on ag advocacy and sharing the value of agriculture with peers.

Kayla Burkhart with Dakota Midland Grain will join the program for the Market Risk class to host a workshop and discussion on grain marketing. At that same session, Brummund will also touch on livestock marketing.

United Community Bank’s Todd Vangsness and Kyle Brossart will discuss preparing for loan and budget planning during the Financial Risk seminar. At the Farm Insurance seminar, Kurt Weninger with Drake Insurance will discuss the ins and outs of farm insurance.

“I have a little bit of a passion for the succession planning portion so that class I’m pretty excited to get people there and visit a little bit with them about transitioning the farm down,” Brummund said. Pam Andrist with the American Trust Center will be speaking during the class about understanding that succession planning is important at all stages.

Individual courses are $30 each while the entire program is $120. To register or learn more, contact Jen Hubrig at 420-5734 or jhubrig@ucbnd.com.

“If you are hesitant, we encourage you to maybe just sign up for the first (session), we have a social at the beginning.” Hubrig said. “I can just get you into the social so you can check out the other people that are involved, learn a little bit more about what the program will offer and you can see if you would be comfortable in that setting.”

Women in Ag Schedule

Women in Ag Social — Oct. 29, 6 p.m. at Off the Vine

Human Resources — Nov. 7, 5:30 p.m. at North Central Research Center

Market Risk — Nov. 13, 7:30 a.m. at Bearscat Bakery

Financial Risk — Nov. 20, Noon at Buffalo Wings & Rings

Farm Insurance — Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m. at The Tap Room

Succession Planning — Dec. 7, 9:30 a.m. at The Foundry

Individual courses: $30 each; Full program: $120

To register or learn more, contact Jen Hubrig at 420-5734 or jhubrig@ucbnd.com