Date: Jan. 26, 2022
Location: Salinas, CA

Today, Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Billy Long (R-MO), Mike Levin (D-CA), Josh Harder (D-CA), and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) sent a bipartisan letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy requesting that they include relief for agricultural fairs in any potential upcoming omnibus legislation. There were widespread closures of fairs due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, and the federal government still needs to help these vital groups recover their losses and rebuild their operations. Federal relief would allow fairs to support our agricultural producers, inspire the next generation of farmers, and provide services to our communities in times of emergency.

"In the last couple years, fairs across the country, including in our counties on the Central Coast, were prevented from opening or operating at full capacity because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," said Congressman Panetta. "That's why we are continuing our efforts in Congress for any type of federal funding to help with the $4.5 billion revenue loss for fairs and allow them to get back to promoting our national agriculture, educating our future farmers, and supporting local small businesses. The federal government needs to do its part to help these fairs recover and, once again, provide economic and cultural benefits to our communities and families."

"The fair season isn't just one of the best times of the year, it's a vital part of our community and our economy. Our fairs employ hundreds of our workers, generate millions in revenue, and of course let us show off the world's finest produce we've got on hand," said Rep. Josh Harder. "We can't have another year where our ag fairs are shut down. Our farmers, our workers, and our communities deserve better. It's time Congress steps up and delivers us the protection they deserve."

"Many of us have fond memories of attending a fair in our community, including my own family who looks forward to the San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds each year," said Rep. Mike Levin. "These fairs serve as an important staple of our local economy and are critical sources of income for local businesses and agricultural producers. However, many fairs experienced significant financial losses as a result of the pandemic and have not yet received any relief. I am glad to join my colleagues in this bipartisan effort to protect these fairs for future generations by providing relief funds like those included in the Agricultural Fairs Rescue Act."