The Delaware State Fair is about so many things – seeing old friends and making new ones, seeing the best work of our state’s young people, eating good food, listening to great music, and watching our children’s faces as they soar into the air on a carnival ride.
The fair, marking its 93rd year, is fundamentally about our state’s unique and powerful agricultural success story. We rely on 2,500 Delaware farmers to generate $8 billion in economic activity, the backbone of our economy.
One day each year is always designated Governor’s Day, when I have the pleasure of visiting the fair and meeting so many people who exemplify what is good about our state. I get to learn from our future farmers and entrepreneurs showing off their best work. I meet farmers who work hard every day on the land. And I get to share the enjoyment of watching the Governor’s Cup harness race, always a thrill. This year on Governor’s Day, we will celebrate the poultry industry and its impact and accomplishments as the major economic engine of Delaware agriculture.
My administration has put farms and farm families high on our priority list. We have invested in agricultural preservation programs, hitting a milestone of 100,000 acres permanently preserved earlier this year. We have invested in an innovative irrigation initiative, the Delaware Rural Irrigation Program, which has helped 850 acres of farmland become irrigated over the last year. And we will soon celebrate the success of our new Young Farmers Program, helping 10 families and individuals past the barrier of the high cost of land.
I always take inspiration in our work from visiting the fair. Above all, the people I meet – from the 11-year-old who has raised a pig all by herself, to the 67-year-old poultry grower who is helping feed people around the world – help remind me how important our task is to renew and strengthen Delaware’s future.
Working together, we can keep agriculture strong and successful in our state, and keep Delaware moving forward.