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Grassley on the State Fair

Q: What’s in store for fair-goers at the Iowa State Fair?

A: For generations of Iowans, the Iowa State Fair is one of the most anticipated events of the year to celebrate our agricultural heritage, industrial innovation and achievements. Throughout 11 days, from Aug. 11-21, 2022, there is something for everyone, from food to entertainment, games, rides and the cherished traditions that keep generations of Iowans coming back from one year to the next. Spectators can soak up competitions in the livestock barns, including the best of the best featuring Iowa cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, horses and more. The Animal Learning Center provides urban neighbors the opportunity to see newborn farm animals born every day at the fair. Check out exhibits featuring photography, floriculture, beekeeping, food, fabric and threads; and contests that include a chili cook off, youth livestock judging, tall corn contest and a cornhole tournament. More than a million fair-goers from around the country are expected to stroll the 450-acres at the Iowa State Fairgrounds that feature just about everything under the sun, moon and stars to taste, touch, see, hear and smell. It is the single largest event in Iowa that attracts people of all ages to enjoy acclaimed artists at the Grandstand, 50+ new foods and more than 60 options for food-on-a-stick.

Every year, I look forward to visiting the famous Butter Cow in the Agriculture Building, helping egg producers serve egg-on-a-stick, pouring iced tea to patrons at the pork producers tent and greeting Iowans as I walk the fairgrounds. As a lifelong family farmer, I particularly enjoy talking with younger generations who take pride in caring for their animals and who qualified to show them at the State Fair. As Iowa’s senior U.S. Senator, I work hard in Washington, D.C. to educate policymakers, the press and pundits that food doesn’t grow in the grocery store. With the rising cost of groceries and growing uncertainty about food shortages stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it’s more important than ever to support our farmers – only two percent of the population – who work 24/7 to produce enough food to feed 330 million Americans and people around the world.

Q: How is your work reflective of Iowans attending the State Fair?

A: First of all, I look forward to attending the State Fair again this year. Like my 99 county meetings, I enjoy meeting with Iowans face to face and hearing what’s on their minds. Representative government is a two-way street. Keeping in touch with Iowans informs my work in the U.S. Senate. For example, I’ll visit the cattle barn and talk with producers at the Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters. Here, they serve mouth-watering prime rib, burgers and hot beef sundaes that fair-goers look forward to from one year to the next. Iowa cattle producers raise high-quality beef but are getting pennies on the dollar when they market their cattle with the Big Four meatpackers who control 85 percent of the market. I’m steering two bipartisan bills through the Senate to bring transparency and restore competition to the marketplace. The Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act and Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act passed out of the Senate Agriculture Committee this summer. Long before beef producers and consumers got hammered by 40-year high inflation, cozy relationships between the consolidated meatpacking industry and large feedlots have jilted independent producers and led to higher prices for consumers at the grocery store. Thanks to strong grassroots support from consumers and Iowa cattlemen, we’ve built a strong bipartisan coalition and I’m working to get these bills across the finish line this fall.

The State Fair also honors the service and sacrifice of Iowa veterans. The veterans parade pays tribute to our men and women who answered the call to serve and protect our freedoms. It’s a privilege to represent Iowa veterans in the U.S. Senate where I use my seniority and leadership to ensure the federal government keeps its promises made to the men and women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, including the Reserves and National Guard. Thousands of reservists and Iowa National Guard members have put their civilian lives on hold to serve our country in recent years, some giving the ultimate sacrifice. From my work uncovering records for Vietnam veterans missing in action, to my oversight of the VA and its patient wait scandal, I work to hold the government accountable and provide resources and services to help veterans integrate back into civilian life, including mental health and suicide prevention. Most recently, I voted every chance I got to support the Honoring Our PACT Act to ensure veterans exposed to toxins during their military service receive appropriate medical care and benefits. From farmers, to veterans, entrepreneurs and young people taking pride in their achievements, I encourage Iowans to visit the State Fair and celebrate the best our state has to offer.


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