It was a joy to see so many smiling faces while attending the Missouri State Fair. It was even more rewarding to see the large crowds of folks having fun, despite having to deal with the drought. This was a great time to remind ourselves, and the rest of the state, how important agriculture is to Missouri, and a time to dust ourselves off and remember the passion we have for our industry.
While visiting with students from 4-H and FFA, I saw the excitement in their eyes as they submitted their livestock and crops for competition. It proved to me just how dedicated they are to their communities and to agriculture. Missouri Farmers Care joined with Missouri FFA to pack more than 100,000 meals to distribute to food banks across Missouri, which makes me proud and reminds me how secure the future of agriculture is in Missouri. It is going to be in good hands. Every time I meet a student from one of these organizations, I always come away thinking, “Now, that is a young person that all of Missouri can be proud of.”
Farming is one of the most honorable professions a Missourian can maintain. We should continue to encourage the next generation to get involved in agriculture. Their lives will be better for it. It is impossible not to feel the positive energy coming from our farmers and their families as you walk through the Fairgrounds. The Missouri State Fair is the premiere agricultural showcase of our state– our Super Bowl of Agriculture and World Series of Agriculture combined into one event. It is the time when Missouri gets to see the best of the best and support all that agriculture has to offer. Visitors can see the best livestock, advancements, and technological innovations our agriculture industry has to offer, while showcasing our young Missourians’ hard work at the same time. It is the people of Missouri that make this fair a success and a treasure to observe.
There were many highlights from the fair. Revenues remained strong as the carnival brought in nearly $1 million. More than 800 employees were hired during the 11-day event. The Missouri State Fair Foundation sold more than 71,000 bottles of water, with proceeds used to fund the preservation and improvements of the Fairgrounds. Setting an attendance record of more than 1,000, the 66th Annual Governor’s Ham Breakfast reached several other all-time highs, including the winning bids for the grand champion ham, reserve grand champion ham, and grand champion bacon. These record purchases will be used to fund youth in agriculture scholarships and to help preserve and improve our Fairgrounds for future use.
This is just a sample of the generosity Missourians showed throughout the fair, for agriculture is an industry that places great importance on giving back to its community and the future of Missouri farmers.
Missouri is a great agricultural state, which was apparent during this year’s State Fair. Having been among so many people of all ages, I know without a doubt that this industry can withstand situations such as the current drought. Our farmers are some of the hardest workers in this state, and I can’t wait to see what they, along with Mark Wolfe, Director of the State Fair, and Chris Chinn, Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, have in store for us next year.