Sep 3, 2010
12:38 PMThe Wind Machine
Today’s Yakima Herald-Republic reports that the Central Washington State Fair Association is shopping the idea of a $200 million project to renew its aged fairgrounds. The pitch is to create an “Agri-Fair of the Americas” involving an “agriculture-based symposium series” focusing on “ joint efforts to solve food problems around the world.” Money is to come from yet unidentified federal and state government sources.
In two weeks, I will be in Washington, D.C., for a conference of the United Fresh Produce Association. One of United’s major projects is to have Congress adopt the idea of “a salad bar in every school.” The basic equipment for one salad bar is about $3,000. There are over 100,000 public schools in the United States.
Both of these ideas are backed by sincere people who are trying to advance the goals of their respective organizations: the State Fair needs new buildings, while United’s members want to sell more fresh produce. Tying these goals with the promotion of agricultural exports and the reduction of childhood obesity is understandable in terms of gaining broader public support and, thereby, taxpayers’ money.
I have no polling data on this issue. However, given ballooning deficits, I believe most growers would prefer the policy option of cutting spending by government over funding either of these two new spending proposals, both of which are ostensibly aimed at helping them.