; The Third Thursday Thing: Educating a Diverse Clientele on Risk Management Issues | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name The Third Thursday Thing: Educating a Diverse Clientele on Risk Management Issues

Marion Simon


“The Third Thursday Thing” at Kentucky State University focuses on production risks of non-traditional farm enterprises, business planning for small producers, marketing and local food systems. This monthly program began in 1997 and has had participants from 20 states and 7 territories and foreign nations. The key to the success of “Third Thursdays” is its inclusion of a diversity of producers and presenters in a friendly setting with lots of hands-on activities.
In an average monthly meeting of 100 participants, 90% will be small farmers with the others being from USDA and state agencies and educational institutions. Of these, 45-65 will be women, 15-20 will be African American, and 15-30 will be beginning farmers. Depending on the topic, several workshops will include 3-15 home schooled students, 8-10 refugees from the Louisville, KY Catholic Charities, 5-15 from the military, 2-25 farmers with disabilities, and members of other socially disadvantaged groups including Native American, Hispanic, and Asian farmers. There have been over 22,000 participants in “Third Thursdays.” Based on our records, 12,000 farmer participants have benefited from the program.
Participants and presenters like the relaxed format, hands-on training, and diversity of topics that focus on their needs. Women appreciate the children friendly atmosphere, meetings that consistently have several women participants, a set day and time each month, and a flexible agenda where they can come and go as family responsibilities change, yet still get the majority of the information presented.