The Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) and the University of Maryland Extension – Howard County have announced the 2015 graduating class of Annie’s Project. Seven participants completed the eight-week program, which is designed to empower women in overall farm decision making and teach them how to build local networks throughout the state.

“We were delighted to bring Annie’s Project back to Howard County,” said Kathy Zimmerman, HCEDA agricultural development manager. “Our graduates all have a passion for business and agriculture, and this program develops the skills they need to manage budgets and a network of resources that will help them build a sustainable business.”

The program covers the five areas of risk management: production, marketing, financial, legal risk and human resources. The course is open to anyone interested in farm management practices.

The HCEDA launched its inaugural class in 2014. Four new agricultural enterprises were created as a result of the first class. Annie’s Project is operated by the University of Maryland Extension – Howard County in cooperation with the HCEDA.

“The women in this year’s graduating class came from around Central Maryland,” said Karen Basinger, University of Maryland Extension – Howard County. “Because of the momentum we’re seeing, we’ll be launching Annie’s Project Two next fall, which will provide more in-depth training for the participants.”

Three of the graduates are Howard County residents, with two each from Montgomery County and Baltimore City. They include Anna Chen, Shelia Flick, Kassandra Foster, Kim Francis, Annette Johnson, Jillian Levine and Laura Ledgard.

For more information, class sites or to register, visit or call 410-758-0166. Also, Annie’s Project has been approved for FSA Borrower Training. For more information, contact your FSA loan officer.