(KFOR NEWS August 5, 2020) Lancaster Event Center fairgrounds is proud to report that Nebraska 1st District Republican Congressman, Jeff Fortenberry of Lincoln, has become a co-sponsor of The Agricultural Fairs Rescue Act that will offer crucial financial support to help fairgrounds like the Lancaster Event Center (LEC) survive through the COVID pandemic and continue their impact on agriculture for generations to come.
California Democrat, Jimmy Panetta and Missouri Republican Congressman, Billy Long have introduced the Agricultural Fairs Rescue Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives to help preserve agricultural fairs across the country and offset the devastating financial losses they have experienced due to COVID-19. The Agricultural Fairs Rescue Act will provide grant funding for agricultural fairs through state departments of agriculture to keep them functioning and preserve them for the future. The legislation provides $500 million in Agricultural Fair Rescue Grants to agricultural fairs,
administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). The AMS will provide the grant funding to states or state departments of agriculture based on the loss of attendance those fairs have experienced in 2020.
Congressman Fortenberry said in a public meeting early during the COVID crisis to the Lancaster County Agricultural Society board which built and manages the LEC fairgrounds that, “the LEC fairgrounds plays a unique, critical role in our community for so many.” Lancaster County Ag Society Board President, Kendra Ronnau, said “The LEC fairgrounds is not operationally subsidized to remain open beyond the annual county fair. This sort of financial support will be crucial to enabling our fairgrounds to survive throughout this COVID pandemic with its core expert staff and critical maintenance done to protect this asset built over the last 20 years after already being closed over 3 months and facing ongoing severe attendance limits.”
According to the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE), each year the operation of agricultural fairs results in $4.67 billion for the U.S. economy and supports thousands of jobs. About 2,000 fairs are held in North America each year, and large fairs can admit more than a million visitors over the course of a week or two. Fairs, like so many other industries in the U.S., have suffered tremendous financial losses as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. IAFE estimates a loss of gross revenue exceeding $3.7 billion to fair organizations so far this year based upon the cancellation of facility events and their annual fair.
The LEC fairgrounds encourages the public to get their friends and family who enjoy their local fairgrounds to email their House of Representatives to support this Agricultural Fairs Rescue Act and locally to copy [email protected] so their comments on the impact LEC fairgrounds has on their lives can be shared with other local, state, Congressional public officials who are looking at multiple funding sources to support the LEC fairgrounds.
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