Second Round of Funding for Eligible County Fairs in the FY 2018 Budget to Support Agricultural Economy
State Holds Webinars to Assist Fairs with Project Submissions
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $5 million is being awarded to county and youth fairs across the State through the 2017 Agricultural Fairgrounds Infrastructure Improvement Program. The funding will be divided equally among the State's 52 eligible local fairs, with each receiving an award of $96,153 to offset the cost of improvements and renovation projects, including new construction, that support New York's agricultural industry. This second round of funding approved in the New York State Budget builds on the $5 million allocated for county fairs in 2016.
"New York's local county fairs showcase the best of our agriculture and community tradition and help generate economic activity across the state," Governor Cuomo said. "By providing our county fairs with resources for improvement projects, we are investing in the regional economy, helping to boost tourism and promoting local agriculture and small businesses."
To receive the funding, fairs must submit the scope of work and estimated budget for proposed projects. Projects must be submitted to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, which is administering the program. The funding can be used to build, repair, replace, acquire, or install fairground buildings, facilities or equipment that are used to house or promote agriculture. A list of eligible local fairs across New York State can be found here.
Once projects are approved by the Department, a contract will be developed and completed through the New York State Grants Gateway. Projects must be finished and the awarded funds must be spent by March 31, 2022. Any money remaining after that date will be divided equally among the awardees who can then submit plans for additional projects.
To help eligible fairs with their project proposal submissions, the Department will hold two webinars: Thursday, November 2 at 10 a.m. and Wednesday, November 8 at 1:30 p.m. For more information on attending the webinars or to receive the webinar materials, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 518-457-2195.
The Department will be contacting eligible fairs with additional details on the 2017 Agricultural Fairgrounds Infrastructure Improvement Program in the coming weeks.
A dozen local fair improvement projects awarded earlier this year under the 2016 program are currently underway. Examples of successful projects include:
- Cattaraugus County Fair - Construction of a new horse barn.
- Erie County Fair - Purchased new gates and pens for additional livestock, purchased additional fans for better circulation in the livestock areas, purchased boom lift to help move stalling for livestock shows.
- Niagara County Fair - Construction of a pole barn for 4-H youth activities and to promote the local agricultural industry.
- Saratoga County Fair - Construction of a new, additional cattle barn.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "I thank Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for providing unprecedented support to our county fairs. With $10 million awarded to our fairs over the last two years, these local treasures can make the necessary improvements to stay up-to-date and attractive to visitors, and reinforce their core mission of promoting the State's exceptional agricultural community. I had the honor of visiting several fairs this past summer who already implemented some of their projects and the results are spectacular."
Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Patty Ritchie said, "County Fairs are one of our biggest—and best—traditions, that highlight all of New York State's agriculture industry. An investment into a county fair is an investment into agriculture education and the economy and quality of life in our communities. I am proud to have successfully advocated for the funding of the Agricultural Fairgrounds Infrastructure Improvement Program and would like to thank Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Ball for their continued efforts to support our county fairs which help grow our state's leading industry."
Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Bill Magee said, "New York's County Fairs offer a longtime tradition of promoting agriculture in education, showmanship, and healthy competition. I strongly encourage local fairs across the state to take advantage of the help this grant opportunity offers them to sustain, grow, and continue to add value and enrichment to their communities."
Senator Kathy Marchione said, "County and youth fairs have a proud history of showcasing some of the very best award-winning agricultural products from our Empire State, as well as offering family-friendly fun and helping build a sense of community and respect for the honorable tradition of family farming. The $5 million in state funding announced by Governor Cuomo today to strengthen and enhance our County and youth fairs is a long-term investment in keeping these beloved institutions moving forward, and is something I have strongly supported as State Senator. I thank the Governor for his continued support of our County and youth fairs that celebrate our hard working family farmers, showcase their award winning products and add so much to our special quality of life."
Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner said, "The agricultural traditions of our county fairs connect families over generations and showcase all that our agriculture community has to offer. I am proud to help support the opportunity for county fairs here in Saratoga and Washington counties, as well as the rest of New York State, to thrive for years to come through the Agricultural Fairgrounds Infrastructure Improvement Program."
President of the New York State Association of Agricultural Fairs Gary Newkirk said, "This summer, I had the opportunity to visit 26 of our great New York State county fairs. What impressed me so much was the dedication of all of the Fairs Staff and volunteers and the great work they do in promoting and educating the fair goers with all of their Agricultural Exhibits. It was so great seeing all of the projects that have been completed with the first round of funding and the plans that are in place for future projects. The addition of this second round of funding will certainly go a long way in improving our aging Fairgrounds, and making a great experience even better for our Fair visitors."
New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, "County fairs play an important role in agriculture and our rural communities. They provide opportunities for our farm families to show off their hard work on the farm as well as to educate the general public that is eager to learn more about where their food comes from. New York Farm Bureau encourages fairs across the state to take advantage of the grant money to improve both their infrastructure and the enjoyment for all fairgoers."
More than 50 county and youth fairs operate from July through early October, with the Long Island Fair closing out the season. Local fairs provide visitors with family-friendly fun, great music and delicious food. They also offer a unique opportunity to learn about local agriculture, including where our food comes from, and how it is grown, harvested and marketed to the public.
In addition, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets operates the oldest and one of the largest state fairs in the country, The Great New York State Fair in Syracuse. The Fair takes place from August 22 through September 3, 2018.
The Department, through its various divisions and programs, promotes New York agriculture and its high-quality and diverse products, fosters agricultural environmental stewardship, and safeguards the State's food supply, land and livestock to ensure the viability and growth of New York's agriculture industries.