McLean County Farm Bureau

Annie’s Project celebrates 20 years

When Ruth Fleck Hambleton thinks of her mother, she remembers her “milking cows and sitting at the dining table doing the books” for the family’s Will County farm. She saw the struggles women faced in the farming operation. Then, as a University of Illinois Extension educator, she often saw classes and workshops filled with men. Those two experiences led her to start Annie’s Project — a nonprofit educational program dedicated to strengthening women’s roles in modern farm and ranch enterprises. Twenty years and 19,000 graduates later, Hambleton reflects on her inspirations and the success of the program.


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