Arkansas Department of Agriculture spends $1.77 million on fairs

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 777 views 

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture has allocated $1,770,272 in funding to Arkansas fairs for 2021.

This includes $724,272 in agri fair funding to county fairs, the Four States Fair, the Arkansas-Oklahoma Fair, and the Arkansas State Fair, as well as construction funding totaling $1,046,000 to county and district fairs.

“Fairs are great venues to showcase our state’s largest industry and they provide opportunities for Arkansas youth to learn more and be involved in the agriculture industry,” said Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. “We hope that fairs across the state will be able to have their scheduled events this year after the coronavirus forced many events to cancel last year.”

Agri fair funding is paid to help cover costs of fair operations and other fair-related expenses. Construction funding has historically been paid to counties and districts every other year to cover routine maintenance and/or improvements to fair facilities.

In 2021, the Arkansas General Assembly granted recipients of construction funding flexibility to utilize the funding to defray other unavoidable expenses and needs created by the coronavirus.

Livestock and Poultry Division inspectors provided thousands of hours at fairs across the state to complete health inspections of exhibition animals and to ensure that the applicable animal health regulatory requirements were satisfied. In 2019, the last full year of fair events before the coronavirus, livestock and poultry inspectors provided 3,626 hours at 76 Arkansas fairs.

“It’s an honor to partner with fairs across the state to help promote Arkansas agriculture while also helping ensure the health of exhibition animals and the livestock and poultry industries,” said Patrick Fisk, Director of the department’s Livestock and Poultry division.