ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — New York State Agriculture and Markets officials have planned a series of roundtable discussions with county fair representatives from across the state, in an attempt to strengthen these community events. Stakeholders will meet twice annually, in the spring and fall, with the initial dates to be chosen at the annual meeting of the New York State Association of Agricultural Fairs (NYSAAF) in January 2023.

Representatives from NYSAAF and additional stakeholders will be invited to participate in the discussions, which will generate ideas to further the fairs’ growth.  “County fairs are the foundation of agricultural education and tradition for families across New York State,” said New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball. “The more we can work together to grow these important cultural and educational touchstones, the better off our state will be. These roundtable discussions will be a great opportunity to continue coordinating and strengthening our fairs’ agricultural initiatives statewide.”

The NYSAAF’s Board of Directors, which includes managers from county fairs across New York State of all sizes, as well as vendor representatives and members of agricultural groups, will be invited to participate in the talks.

Topics for the first roundtable discussion will include:

  • How to enhance fair marketing and promotion through existing programs such as Taste NY and I Love NY, as well as the creation of new programs to increase awareness of fairs statewide.
  • Plans for enhancing agricultural competitions at fairs, including ways to encourage county fair winners to participate at the Great New York State Fair.
  • Other initiatives, including capital planning, emergency management, and commissioning an updated economic impact study.

“The NYSAAF Board looks forward to participating in a series of round table discussions,” said NYSAAF President Ed Rossley. “We will continue to promote agriculture at the county and state levels. Open communication is necessary to expand the county fair’s promotion, infrastructure, and financial stability. All these areas are necessary to provide a venue for youth and agricultural programming initiatives in New York State.”

In addition to the Great New York State Fair, New York is home to more than 50 county and youth fairs that operate from July through the middle of September, with the Long Island Fair closing out the season. According to a 2013 economic impact study, the State’s fairs generate $6 million in economic activity and over 4,000 jobs in New York each year.