The Delaware State Fair may look and sound a lot different than it did 90 years ago when it started, but the heart and soul of our summer tradition remains the same -- with Delaware families making great memories together and Delaware's farmers and future farmers demonstrating their skills, strengths and abilities before an audience of thousands of Delaware neighbors.
Young farmers showing off what they've grown, 4-H members bringing animals they've raised, and Delawareans submitting their best recipes for a blue ribbon -- that's what the Fair is about - with many sharing the hope they'll be able to grow up and have farms of their own.
They should have that chance - to work hard and succeed - because their success is important to our economy and important to the future of Delaware agriculture.
We have over 2,500 farmers in Delaware, an industry that generates up to $8 billion dollars worth of economic activity for our state and we're going to help it grow strong.
At this year's fair, we celebrated our renewed commitment to agricultural preservation and the launch of our Delaware Young Farmer program --providing incentives for young farmers to carry on family farms and start-up farms of their own.
We will help young farmers acquire land, and at the same time, be providing for the permanent preservation of that land.
Farmland is one of the wisest investments we can make to grow jobs and opportunities -- while saving our future costs and sending a signal that we're investing in agriculture for the long haul.
We know the dream of so many young Delawareans is to grow up to be like their parents or grandparents and become farmers. It is our job to facilitate that dream - to ensure that future generations of Delawareans are afforded the same opportunities previous generations were.
Even if you're not a farmer, or don't know a farmer, you can support Delaware agriculture by buying Delaware produce. When you're driving this summer, stop at a local farmer's market and buy some fresh ears of Delaware corn or freshly-picked cantaloupe or watermelon.
It's easy to find the nearest produce stand - with a smart phone, you can just download the "Delaware Fresh" app.
Together, we can keep agriculture strong in our state, make real the dreams of young Delaware farmers and promote our state's economy all at the same time - working together to keep Delaware moving forward.