GREENVILLE — Weather did not dampen the attendance at the Fair Board meeting on Wednesday evening.
While multiple topics were discussed, at least three were of primary importance, including the subject of Paylean restrictions, an update from Katie DeLand on capital improvement funds, and the first tentative steps towards a Darke County Fair Foundation.
As plans are underway for the next Great Darke County Fair, Paylean is a hot topic as the feed ingredient for rapid weight gain in swine is banned in numerous countries, including China, the world’s largest pork consumer.
The ban falls down the U.S. production line, and to keep up with export demands now includes show pigs at county fairs that are taken for slaughter.
At issue is how to assure swine shown at the Great Darke County Fair are not fed Paylean and a determination on who will be responsible for ensuring these restrictions, determinations that could include sworn affidavits to random testing.
Darke County is not the only one grappling with the issue as Russ Bennett, board director, requested the issue be tabled for now “rather than jump in” to any decisions.
Fair Manager Brian Rismiller provided a brief update on obtaining funds for capital improvement projects via an email from Katie DeLand, Ohio Director with Duane Morris Government Strategies (DMGS).
As previously reported, the board motioned to hire DMGS in November 2019 with DeLand working with numerous state representatives to acquire funds through the capital budget.
DeLand, at a previous meeting, cited late January to early February on whether the Fair’s capital improvement project funding request would be included in the budget. However, the update on Wednesday from DeLand is that they are still waiting.
While not discussed in detail during the meeting, the fair board did receive the final insurance payout of $274,723.42 for the swine barn lost to an arson fire in the fall of 2018. But to continue moving forward with funds for the Fair for both current and future projects, Board Director Dudley Lipps presented an introductory letter on developing a Darke County Fair Foundation.
Along with assistance from the Darke County Foundation and OSU Extension, the foundation would be 501c3 and gives credibility to the organization as a whole, explained Lipps. He noted several Ag societies have already benefited from the development of a foundation including, but not limited to, Fulton, Wood, and Mahoning counties, in his letter.
Estimating the start-up costs would range from $1500 to $2000, Lipps was given a motion to proceed with further research.
“Setting this foundation up may not help us initially, as much as the hope it is for help us for the future,” said Lipps, “for the next generation and generations to follow.”
Lipps cited repairs, new buildings, “there is a lot of potential for using a foundation.”
The Fair Board meets at 7:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every month in the board room in the office under the grandstand. Meetings are open to the public.