Wisconsin considers changes to fair prize rules

Wisconsin’s Legislature is considering a bill that would change the rules for exhibiting in fairs and add money to the premium prize fund.

State Senator Joan Ballweg authored Senate Bill 311, which would allow state funds to cover up to 20 thousand dollars of the cost of each local fair’s prizes, double what it is now. “We’re revising a state statute and programming so that anyone who wants to show something that’s similar in more than one fair would be able to receive a premium.”

Ballweg tells Brownfield the change is needed to encourage more youth to exhibit at their fairs. “We were worried that by saying you wouldn’t get a premium, it served as a disincentive for those young people especially, so we want people to be able to practice as much as possible and be involved in agriculture.” And Ballweg says the local, district, and county fairs are the best places for young people to practice their showing skills.

The bill also keeps the ability of local fairs to restrict the number of fairs an exhibitor may participate in for a prize paid for with state aid, but it would block the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection from imposing similar restrictions.

The bill awaits action by the State Assembly’s Agriculture Committee.  Ballweg is optimistic it can be passed and sent to the Governor this fall.

Audio: Senator Joan Ballweg discusses Senate Bill 311 with Brownfield’s Larry Lee.

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