A veteran state lawmaker who represents the Bootheel is calling for additional funding for the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia.
State Sen. Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff, says the fair showcases Missouri.
“We need to get this place (the state fairgrounds), I mean absolutely get our buildings redone that need to be done. We need to pave our (fairgrounds) streets. I know there’s been some stuff done on our camping and stuff,” Libla says.
The Missouri State Fair’s current state budget is about $4.7 million. Libla says investing more money in facilities will pay dividends in the future.
“We need to help the volunteers here at our State Fair to really showcase it up and invest, because it’s going to bring us a big return back,” says Libla.
Those include new exterior paint and windows at the coliseum, and a new roof and new windows at the women’s building.
There’s also a new office and new bleachers at the swine barn. And there have been electrical upgrades at about 500 campground sites in Sedalia.
The State Fair, which has about 55 full-time employees, is operated by the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA).
The 2018 Missouri State Fair wrapped up Sunday.
State Fair marketing director Kari Mergen tells Missourinet they won’t have official fair attendance numbers until all of their advance admission outlets have reported.
Agriculture is the state’s top industry. MDA released a 2017 report, which says it’s an $88 billion industry in Missouri.
Libla, who represents eight counties, notes it’s also the biggest industry in southeast Missouri.
“My district’s very diverse, we have all the rowcroppers down in the Bootheel area there, and just out of Poplar Bluff, just east of Poplar Bluff to the south,” Libla says. “And then you got the cattle farmers and some guys like that and tourism and timber.”
Libla says southeast Missouri farmers grow everything but citrus.
He spoke to Missourinet at the Governor’s ham breakfast on Thursday.
Numerous other state lawmakers and state officials in both parties attended the ham breakfast.
Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and State Sens. Doug Libla and Denny Hoskins, which was recorded at the Governor’s ham breakfast in Sedalia on August 16, 2018:
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