Kentucky State University - 2023-2024 MODEL STATE PROGRAM

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2023: $22,000.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2024
Grant Recipient: Kentucky State University
Region: Southern
State: Kentucky
State Coordinator:
Jerusha Lay, DVM
Kentucky State University


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

Now in its 25th year, The Third Thursday Thing features monthly sustainable agriculture training sessions. The sessions take place at the Kentucky State University Harold R. Benson Research and Demonstration Farm on the third Thursday of every month with no session in December. Agricultural professionals and farm leaders throughout the Commonwealth and surrounding states are the target audience for the trainings. These trainings are structured for multiple learning types, with lecture style presentations followed by hands on demonstration/activities. We have also added a Fourth Wednesday Beef Cattle program based on requests from the agricultural community and are exploring the addition of a Women in Sustainable Agriculture Group. We are including funds to support some of our KSU agents to seek professional development training in sustainable agriculture. 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. Third Thursdays also serves as a space for synergies in small farm education. Many conferences and educational meetings are planned around “Third Thursdays” including: the Annual Small, Limited-Resource/Minority Farmers Conference, the International Pawpaw Conference, the Regional SARE Goat Project’s Collaborator Conference, and many others.

Project objectives from proposal:

  • Kentucky’s SARE PDP Model State Program objectives are to build a broad base of interest and skills in agricultural sustainability among extension agents, other professionals, and farmers, particularly mentor farmers, in the state to equip them with the needed skills to assist farmers, marketers, and community leaders, and to facilitate a diverse range of collaborative projects.


  • Continue to offer the basic science-based information on sustainable agriculture production and marketing.
  • Support the further development of a community of women working in sustainable agriculture.
  • Forums for underserved farmers and professionals to network with USDA, State, Research, Extension, NRCS, and other professionals, learn about their programs and opportunities, and learn about Third Thursdays.
  • The Third Thursday Thing Workshops for 2022 and 2023 are following. 2022 found the numbers increasing, but less than prior to the pandemic, and the remote access you-tube and Zoom sessions are increasing as participants from a wider scope of people are reached.  As one producer leader said “… when Third Thursdays return from the pandemic, we will know that things are right with farming in Kentucky…”  Our records and evaluations show that sustainable agriculture education is expanding across the Commonwealth.
  • Many of the topics are similar but the purpose of Third Thursdays is to focus on basic sustainable production and marketing, as well as improving family and community life. The targets focus on beginning farmers, limited-resource, minority, women, and low literacy producers and those who educate them.  Repeated basic information prepares them for more in-depth training at UK and KSU Extension, and understanding of state and USDA agency opportunities.


2022 Third Thursday Thing Workshop Schedule


January:  Natural Resources (Jody Thompson)


February: Organic Agriculture


March: Goat Production and Marketing


April:  Farmers Markets (Joni Nelson)


May: Aquaculture


June: Juneteenth (Tiffany Bellfield, Community Farm Alliance


July: Sustainable Agriculture Small Farm Field Day


August: Environmental Impacts on Small Farmers (Cindy Rice)


September: National Pawpaw Third Thursday


October: Small Ruminants


November: Small, Limited-Resource, Minority Farmers Conference (many topics)



2023 Third Thursday Thing Workshop Schedule


January:  Learn About USDA Farm & Home Loans and Natural Resources


February: Organic Agriculture


March: Small Ruminants & Goats


April: Weed & Insect Control & Beneficial Insects & NRCS Programs


May: Aquaculture


June:  Farmers Markets and Juneteenth


July: Learn About Farm Fencing & Pasture


August: Sustainable & Organic Agriculture


September: National Pawpaw Third Thursday


October: Small Ruminants & Goats


November: Small, Limited-Resource, Minority Farmers Conference


Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.