Senator recognized for his efforts to restore $360k in state aid for fairs across New York State
WATERTOWN (July 14, 2010)—The New York State Association of Agricultural Fairs on Tuesday presented Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine with an appreciation award at the opening ceremony of the Jefferson County Fair thanking the Senator for his work protecting funding for fairs.
“It’s nice to have someone in Senator Aubertine who not only speaks for us, but understands us,” said Jessica L. Underberg, president of the association of agricultural fairs. “Through the efforts of local legislators, especially Senator Aubertine, funds have been restored. Agriculture separates our fairs from carnivals and theme parks in the state. Fairs are one of the last places people can go and interact with farm animals and our farms. Senator Aubertine as chair of the Agriculture Committee has demonstrated his strong support for the fairs in New York State.”
In the proposed executive budget, county fairs, along with many other agricultural programs, were slated for a 100 percent cut of all state funding. As chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Sen. Aubertine fought to raise awareness among lawmakers of the importance of agriculture and shift $2.5 million, including $340,000 in premium money for local fairs, back into agriculture programs.
“This premium money is a big thing for the fair,” said Robert Simpson, president of the Jefferson County Fair. “We give away over $30,000 in prizes each year, so this premium money is close to a third of our premiums. For a lot of fairs like ours, it makes a big difference. Senator Aubertine has been supportive of this funding and we appreciate his efforts to restore this funding for us. Fairs are such a tradition and this is so important. We appreciate his work.”
Sen. Aubertine was presented a plaque at the opening ceremony, where he was on the reviewing stand watching local school bands perform, along with local fire departments, local police and others.
“I’m certainly pleased to have been recognized for my continued support of county fairs here and across New York State,” Sen. Aubertine said. “This is an honor, but it’s important we recognize all who make these fairs a reality. The fair organizers, the farm community, the workers and the vendors who put in so much work, effort and time deserve recognition. Be it the midway and the terrific job done by Reithoffer Shows for entertainment or the agricultural displays at the heart of why we hold these fairs, this really shows everyone who isn’t familiar with agriculture a bit of what goes on at our farms right here in our own backyard.”