Citizens voice concerns about ag issuesPublished 12:11pm Thursday, November 5, 2009
By NORMA LERNER
Citizens voiced concerns about agriculture issues at the Cass County Fair Association board meeting Tuesday night.
Members heard from Cheryl Rogers, who said her daughter, Tiffany Rogers, a former 4-H member, president of the state FFA and freshman at Michigan State University in the the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, may not stay enrolled at MSU. Rogers asked the fair board if there is anything they can do. She said that agriculture is the No. 1 industry in this state, and it cannot afford to be lost. She said if there are major cuts in the state’s budget, the ag people cannot afford to lose 4-H and Extension services. She said her daughter may not stay at MSU if there is no future in agriculture.
Tiffany Rogers was unable to attend the meeting, but four Cassopolis High School students and two college freshmen spoke as a team on agricultural issues, particularly on concentrated animal feeding operations. Stephanie Stickle spoke for Ross Beatty High School FFA.
Jessica Poulsen, 4-H youth educator, said our Extensions will be losing funding. The organization will be restructuring probably over the next year, and we will be focusing on four statewide priority areas.
She said she didn’t know how it will be structured, but “It is scary,” she said. She said the Extension Service is proud of the kids.
“They are a great group of kids in agriculture,” she said.
Poulsen said the Extension funding comes from state and federal funding. She said there is a lot of support from the people.
The board heard from barn superintendents and 4-H leaders who told about the numbers of animals in their barns and what was the highest selling animals at the livestock and small animal sales.
Bill Grabemeyer, Diane Skibbe and Ben Waldschmidt, all of Dowagiac, were re-elected to three-year director terms. Tim Wallace of Dowagiac and Kevin Hershberger of Cassopolis were newly elected. Hershberger previously served on the board.
Re-elected for a two-year term was Dean Hass of Cassopolis who will fill out the term of Becky Moore who earlier resigned as a director.
Ed Dohm of Niles did not seek re-election. Taras Lyssenko was nominated but not elected.
The board accepted its annual financial report with revenues of $416,367 and expenses of $381,578.
The report showed the highest money makers at the fair to be the demolition derby on Monday night, $14,856; the regional and state national tractor and truck pulls on Tuesday night, $9,723; SJO super cross championship series on Wednesday night, $8,511; the demolition derby on Thursday night, $15,775; monster trucks on Friday night, $9,487; and the J Bar J Bullmania on Saturday night, $10,472.
The total cost of the grandstand attractions were $74,450. Other entertainment costs were $34,799.