During this year’s Ag Day brunch at the Illinois State Fair, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced the formation of a private foundation to raise money for improvements needed at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield and the DuQuoin State Fair. This comes in the wake of the General Assembly’s failure to pass either HB 4990 or SB 2930, both of which would have created language in state code recognizing the formation and makeup of a Fairgrounds Foundation.

The Illinois Beef Association applauds the efforts of Gov. Rauner, community leaders and our own agribusiness partners to take this step. For my family and many others, the tradition that goes along with exhibiting projects at the State Fair is something we proudly pass on from generation to generation.

The fair is more than a livestock competition, it’s a unique opportunity to for farmers to showcase their animals to each other and the general public as well. We take this opportunity seriously as we welcome visiting families into the livestock barns to foster dialogues about how we raise the food we all eat.

The fact that the site where these competitions and interactions happens is in disrepair is no secret. That said, we’re ready to get to work fulfilling the potential of this new foundation in the hopes that our fairgrounds can continue to benefit the agriculture community, the cities of Springfield and DuQuoin, and Illinois as a whole.

Mike Martz

DeKalb

The writer is president

of the Illinois Beef

Association.