Jul 29 2016
This past week, I was lucky enough to spend some time at the Delaware State Fair. This was my 43rd year visiting the fair, and each year it brings me so much joy to meet people from all walks of life, attend many of the 97 events at this year's fair, and explore our state's vibrant agriculture community.
Every year, I am struck by the strength and diversity of our agriculture community represented at the fair. From the beef and dairy cattle, to the horse shows, to the Poultry Barn and the horticulture displays, the fair reminds all of us just how important agriculture is to Delaware's economy.
Our agriculture community is just that, a community of families who have been neighbors, friends, and sometimes friendly competitors, for generations. In Delaware, nearly 90 percent of our farms are sole or family proprietorships, or family-owned corporations. Our family farmers are some of the most innovative, industrious farmers in the nation - and they're always competing with, and often times beating, states like California for the best production value per acre and the best value of products sold per farm.
For such a small state, we certainly punch above our weight when it comes to growing crops and raising livestock and chickens to feed families across the country and around the world. In fact, in Delaware, chickens outnumber people by three hundred to one. Every year, Delaware's poultry farmers create more than $4.5 billion in economic activity and account for more than 50 percent of our state's agricultural exports.
Each year, nearly 300,000 people visit the Delaware State Fair. As families walk around, talk to our farmers, and participate in the many agricultural events, they often tell me how blown away they are that all of this comes from Delaware.
I'm proud that Delaware's agriculture community continues to out-produce and out-compete most others across the country. It is truly a Small Wonder.
Tomorrow is the last day of the fair. If you haven't visited yet this year, I encourage you to bring your families and friends and come see some of the best of Delaware - and while you're there, maybe even ask some of Delaware's farmers for tips on how to up the production of your own family garden.