Kentucky’s Model State Program is focusing on needs identified from our state SARE advisory council. Recent investments in agent training have focused on sustainable communities, food processing, family finances and organic production. Kentucky State University continues to make the Third Thursday Program the focus of its SARE MSP funding.
Third Thursdays have become an institution in Kentucky professional development educational programming. The broad range of topics (listed in a later section) ensure that agricultural professionals and producer leaders have training in the skills necessary on a diversified small farm. TTT also serves as a space for synergies in small farm education. Many conferences and educational meetings are planned around “Third Thursdays” including:
o the Annual Small, Limited-Resource/Minority Farmers Conference,
o the International Pawpaw Conference,
o the Regional SARE Goat Project’s Collaborator Conference,
o the SRRMEC Regional Conference on the “Risk-Assessed Business Planning for Small Producers” curriculum, and many others.
Project objectives from proposal:
2017 Objectives & Outcomes:
– Build a broad base of interest and skills in agricultural sustainability among extension agents and other professionals in the state.
– Increasing support of professional development for NGO service providers.
– Further development of relationships with those delivering livestock and grain programming.
– Sustained education in genetic engineering and its pros and cons for sustainability.
We have delivered on these goals through several projects including: the Southeastern Kentucky Ag Outreach Provider Symposium planning process, support for a speaker at the American Forage and Grassland Conference, attendance at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association conference, tabling at the Organic Association Conference, and staying in contact with the team of faculty working on cover crops after the 2016 Southern Cover Crops Conference. We continue to cover a wide variety of topics at our Third Thursday Thing events, the Annual Minority and Limited Resources Farmer Conference. This has opened some considerable opportunities for engaging our SARE program with the livestock and grain communities.
2018 Additional Objectives:
– Add depth to our conversations around the sustainability of Genetic Engineering.
– Reach a broader group of Extension personnel for our professional development “scholarships”