The Agricultural Fairs Rescue Act was introduced in Congress late last week to help preserve agricultural fairs across the country. The legislation from Democrat Jimmy Panetta of California and Republican Billy Long of Missouri is also designed to help fairs recover from large financial losses they’ve suffered because of COVID-19.
A large number of fairs across the country didn’t take place this summer because of safety concerns. The bill would provide $500 million in grant funding for agricultural fairs through their state departments of agriculture to help keep them functioning well into the future.
“County and local fairs are very important to agriculture and our communities all across our country,” Panetta says. “Fairs provide our producers with the opportunity to market their crops and livestock and foster the next generation of farmers.”
He points out that fairs are also an “economic engine” and a gathering place to highlight and celebrate our communities. A Drover’s report says agricultural and community fairs have been an important part of rural communities for over 250 years. State and local fairs also provide farmers and ranchers with the opportunity to educate the public about local agriculture.
“Like many institutions, fairs have been hit by COVID-19,” Panetta says, “and we must assist if we are going to preserve these fairs for the future.”