WASHINGTON — Today, Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) pushed for new support for the Valley’s agricultural fairs during a critical House Agriculture Committee markup. The bill, the bipartisan Agricultural Fairs Rescue Act, will provide $500 million in federal grants for agricultural fairs through state departments of agriculture. State and county fairs are a primary source of promotion of U.S. agribusiness products and services. Before the pandemic, agricultural fairs generated an average of $4.67 billion per year, supporting thousands of jobs in communities across the Central Valley.
Full transcript of the remarks below:
I am excited to support H.R. 2424, the Agricultural Fairs Rescue Act before the Committee today, because Representative Panetta and I have been working on this effort for over a year now.
Ag fairs in the Valley aren’t just one of the best times of the year, they’re a vital part of our community. They employ hundreds of our workers, generate millions in revenue for our businesses, and of course let us show off the world’s finest produce we’ve got on hand. I’ll be honest, I’m still proud of the blue ribbons I won when I was a kid, and I can’t imagine this new generation growing up without a chance to win some for themselves.
Since the beginning of this pandemic, we’ve been fighting to ensure that our ag fairs have the support they needed to get through it all. Every day our fairs were closed just broke my heart. Recent studies put the losses in revenue from closed ag fairs close to $5 billion last year alone.
We cannot have another year where our agricultural fairs are shut down or unable to operate. Our farmers deserve better. Our workers deserve better. And our families deserve better. With cases of the Delta variant on the rise, we have to provide the agricultural fairs the support they need.
I look forward to continuing to work with Mr. Panetta on this important issue.
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