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  • Wed, May 27, 2020 9:10 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    Cancellation During 2020 Pandemic Only the Second Time
    Since 1841 That No Fair Will Be Held  
    For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 27, 2020

    HAMBURG, NY – The Erie County Agricultural Society, sponsors of the Erie County Fair, announced today that it has decided to postpone the 2020 Erie County Fair (originally scheduled to be held August 12-23, 2020).

    “Although our Board and staff share a feeling of profound disappointment in making the announcement to cancel the 2020 Erie County Fair, it has become clear that cancelling is the responsible choice for the Fair to do its part to support community health and safety, and to minimize the spread of COVID 19,” said CEO and Fair Manager Jessica Underberg.

    The impact of the Erie County Fair’s cancellation will be felt far beyond the loss of the “Best 12 Days of Summer,” said Underberg.  “We are heartbroken for the small businesses, family farms, competitors and exhibitors impacted in so many ways by this decision.”  However, Underberg added that the Erie County Fair staff is exploring ways in which regional youth agricultural-based organizations may be able to participate in “hands-on” programs at the Fairgrounds with the necessary safeguards to create a safe environment for the participants.

    Underberg added, “As difficult as this time in our history is, we know that the Erie County Agricultural Society and Western New York will emerge from this challenging moment and will be ready for the 2021 Erie County Fair, scheduled to be held on August 11th – 22nd, 2021. We look forward to brighter, better days ahead when we can gather to celebrate the “Best 12 Days of Summer in Western New York.”

    12-Day Pass Refund Information
    Full refunds for 2020 Erie County Fair 12-Day passes will be processed by mailing the passes back to the Fair office at 5600 McKinley Parkway, Hamburg, New York 14075. Please include the name and address of the individual requesting the refund. In-person refunds will not be handled at the Fair’s main office, as it is closed due to COVID-19.

    Historical Context of Cancellation
    The postponement of the 2020 Erie County Fair marks only the SECOND time since 1841 that the Fair has been cancelled. During World War II, the 1943 Fair was cancelled to support the patriotic rationing of gasoline and other vital wartime commodities. The fair returned the following year to record breaking attendance.

    About the Erie County Fair
    The Erie County Agricultural Society is a private not-for-profit membership organization. Established in 1819, the Society is the oldest civic organization in Western New York. The mission of the Erie County Agricultural Society (ECAS), sponsors of the Erie County Fair, is to preserve and enhance, by educational endeavors, the agricultural and historical legacy of New York State. The Fair strives to fulfill appropriate aspects of the agricultural, educational, entertainment and recreational needs of Western New York.  The 181st Erie County Fair will be held August 11th – 22nd, 2021. (www.ECFair.org)

  • Thu, May 21, 2020 5:58 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    From the desk of Vanessa Gagne:

    May 21, 2020


    A new federal bill to curb the wildlife trade has been introduced to Congress.   The Global Wildlife Health and Pandemic Prevention Act will use several departments to find  and shut down wildlife markets that could spread zoonotic diseases. 
    Read the summarization here
    Hidden within the
    Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES) is the Wildlife-Borne Disease Prevention Act, which would reinstate a ban on interstate trade of certain species of animals bred in human care.  This has passed the  House and has moved on to the Senate.  Please contact your state Senator and ask them to oppose this activist driven change shoehorned into a COVID relief package meant for providing safety and security to Americans. 
    Thank you, USARK, for the updates and synopsis.


    'We Have Run Into a Stone Wall': Group Considers Ending Litigation to Free Elephant From Connecticut Zoo

    USDA Issues Amendments to Animal Welfare Act Licensing Regulations

    Baby elephant born at the Houston Zoo survives emergency surgery

    Minnesota Senate passes horse racing bill

    Coronavirus: China’s farmers told to stop breeding exotic animals

    “Adopt Don’t Shop.” Marketing Genius or Shaming Slogan?

  • Wed, May 20, 2020 9:43 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    The Circus Historical Society has announced that Chris Berry has won the 2020 Stuart Thayer Prize. The Thayer Prize is named for renowned circus historian Stuart Thayer whose writings on circus history inspired generations of follow on advocates.

    This year’s prize was awarded for Berry’s article “Greatest Shows on Earth” that appeared in the Society’s journal, Bandwagon, in late 2019. The piece examined the creation of a second unit of Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey under the direction of Irvin Feld. The selection committee praised Berry’s extensive research, lucid writing and the use of fascinating interviews with individuals who were involved in the significant event.

    Berry will receive a monetary award and a commemorative plaque. A presentation ceremony, normally held during the Society’s annual convention, has been delayed due to the Covid 19 crisis.

  • Wed, May 20, 2020 9:01 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)
    U.S. On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices*
    Change from
    05/04/20 05/11/20 05/18/20 week ago year ago
    U.S. 2.399 2.394 2.386 -0.008 -0.777
    East Coast (PADD1) 2.510 2.498 2.491 -0.007 -0.685
    New England (PADD1A) 2.652 2.630 2.620 -0.010 -0.618
    Central Atlantic (PADD1B) 2.688 2.680 2.667 -0.013 -0.708
    Lower Atlantic (PADD1C) 2.360 2.348 2.345 -0.003 -0.685
    Midwest (PADD2) 2.248 2.240 2.229 -0.011 -0.820
    Gulf Coast (PADD3) 2.169 2.178 2.175 -0.003 -0.732
    Rocky Mountain (PADD4) 2.370 2.346 2.338 -0.008 -0.854
    West Coast (PADD5) 2.899 2.900 2.887 -0.013 -0.907
    West Coast less California 2.545 2.557 2.543 -0.014 -0.809
    California 3.191 3.182 3.171 -0.011 -0.974
    *prices include all taxes


  • Thu, May 14, 2020 11:15 AM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    May 12, 2020

    Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™
    Announces Leadership Changes

    Today, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo announces that CEO and President Joel Cowley is leaving the organization, and the promotion of Chief Mission Officer Chris Boleman, Ph.D., to the role of president and CEO.

    Cowley has spent his entire career focused on education and agriculture and has served the mission of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for 15 years, including the last seven in his current leadership role.

    “I am incredibly thankful to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Executive Committee for the opportunity to serve this organization for the past 15 years, seven as president and CEO,” said Cowley. “Our volunteers and staff have reached incredible milestones over this period and, with the continued support of the community, I am confident that the best is yet to come.”

    Cowley and his wife, Tammy, have two daughters who both graduated college in 2019. “While I will remain a lifelong supporter of the Rodeo and its mission of promoting agriculture and supporting education, I will be pursuing an opportunity that has a direct impact on the agricultural industry,” said Cowley. “In doing so, I hope to provide the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo with an even better story to tell about advancements in the critically important field of agriculture.”

    Cowley’s last day in his role of president and CEO is May 22.

    “Our organization has set attendance records and increased our commitment to education and our community under Joel’s leadership during these past seven years,” said Chairman of the Board Jim Winne. “We are eternally grateful for the commitment and passion that Joel and his family have made to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.”

    Dr. Boleman has been named the new Rodeo president and CEO. Dr. Boleman has served in the role of chief mission officer since August, and prior to that, beginning in 2017, he served as executive director of the Agricultural Educational Competitions and Exhibits Division.

    In addition to his official roles with the organization, in 2019 Dr. Boleman took a lead role in the reorganization structure of the Rodeo.

    “Chris has committed his career to education and promoting agriculture, which are two key pillars of our organization’s mission,” said Winne. “But what our Executive Committee is most pleased with is that within our own leadership team, we have a transformational and visionary leader who is prepared to step up and lead our organization. Chris was on a fast track to a CEO role in our industry, and we are happy that it will be with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.”

    Prior to joining the Rodeo, Dr. Boleman served as the state leader for the Texas 4-H Organization and as a professor at his alma mater, Texas A&M University.

    “I appreciate the confidence that the Rodeo Executive Committee has in me to lead such an impactful organization that is aligned with my personal passions,” said Boleman. “I am very grateful to Joel Cowley, who not only has been a tremendous leader of our organization but is also a trusted friend and mentor. I look forward to the challenge of following his legacy.”

    Dr. Boleman will be leading a full-time staff of 130 and a volunteer force of more than 35,000.

    “One of the most gratifying aspects of working with the Rodeo is working alongside the volunteers who are so passionate and committed to the success of our organization,” said Boleman. “My wife Randi serves as a volunteer, so I see every day how much time, energy and passion that this group provides toward our success.”

    Cowley lauded the promotion of Dr. Boleman, whom he has known and worked with for many years, including their time together at Texas A&M.

    “When hiring Chris three years ago, it was done with potential succession in mind,” said Cowley. “I can think of no one better to lead this great organization into the future.”

    Dr. Boleman will assume the role of president and CEO Monday, May 25, 2020.

    The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo promotes agriculture by hosting an annual, family-friendly experience that educates and entertains the public, supports Texas youth, showcases Western heritage and provides year-round educational support within the community. Since its beginning in 1932, the Rodeo has committed more than $500 million to the youth of Texas and education. For more information, visit rodeohouston.com and connect with #RODEOHOUSTON online via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for all the latest news. The 2021 Rodeo is scheduled for March 2 – 21

  • Tue, May 12, 2020 8:34 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    On Friday the Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration is planning to expand its immigration ban. The Journal reported that the order is expected to include H-2B visas. 

    It is critical that we get our Congressional supporters to weigh in with DHS and the White House to voice their opposition to including H-2B in the pending immigration ban. This is a watershed moment. If our opponents our successful in temporarily banning the issuance of H-2B visas, it will be easy for them to extend the ban. This is when we have to take our stand. 

    We know that there are administration officials both for and against including H-2B in the upcoming immigration ban. Our allies in the administration need the back-up of our supporters in Congress. 

    On Friday, we submitted a letter to Secretary Wolf in response to the the thirty day review period of the non-immigrant programs and their effect on the American workforce that was included in the initial immigration executive order. The letter cited our statistics regarding seasonal employers' efforts to recruit American workers. It also requested that DHS reopen the cap. 

    If you have a Republican representative, send the letter to your representative with the request that he/she forward the letter to his/her contacts at DHS, the White House and DOL.  

    Click here for a template.

    Do you have excess H-2B workers?

    Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, a number of H-2B employers either brought in more workers than they now have the work for or brought in the workers before their industry was shut down (hospitality and outdoor amusement). There are hundreds of SEA members who still desperately need workers. If you no longer have a need for your workers and may be willing to transfer them, complete this survey. I will then post the entries on our members only website so that employers who need workers can get in touch with you.

    Important points to remember:

    1. Sub-contracting out your workers is illegal. The workers must be transferred. This means that they workers cannot be transferred back to the original employer for the duration of the job order. The workers can return to the original employer the following year. 
    2. If you have an approved visa petition but have not brought in your workers, the workers cannot be transferred. They have to work for the employer who holds the original visa petition for a measurable amount of time. 


    To-do list

    1. Complete survey documenting your American worker recruitment results May 1-May 7. Thank you for the excellent response to the most recent recruitment results survey.  
    2. Send an email to your member of Congress asking them to reach out to DHS to request that H-2B workers be excluded from any future immigration ban. Click here for a template. 
    3. If you have excess workers, complete this survey
  • Tue, May 12, 2020 12:58 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)
    U.S. On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices*
    Change from
    04/27/20 05/04/20 05/11/20 week ago year ago
    U.S. 2.437 2.399 2.394 -0.005 -0.766
    East Coast (PADD1) 2.545 2.510 2.498 -0.012 -0.678
    New England (PADD1A) 2.677 2.652 2.630 -0.022 -0.608
    Central Atlantic (PADD1B) 2.711 2.688 2.680 -0.008 -0.685
    Lower Atlantic (PADD1C) 2.406 2.360 2.348 -0.012 -0.687
    Midwest (PADD2) 2.287 2.248 2.240 -0.008 -0.806
    Gulf Coast (PADD3) 2.208 2.169 2.178 0.009 -0.727
    Rocky Mountain (PADD4) 2.434 2.370 2.346 -0.024 -0.835
    West Coast (PADD5) 2.934 2.899 2.900 0.001 -0.890
    West Coast less California 2.593 2.545 2.557 0.012 -0.798
    California 3.214 3.191 3.182 -0.009 -0.954
    *prices include all taxes


  • Tue, May 05, 2020 6:06 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    Baraboo News Republic

    Two of Baraboo’s signature summer draws, live shows at Circus World Museum and the Big Top Parade, have been cancelled this year in response to ongoing coronavirus concerns.

    Museum Director Scott O’Donnell said it’s the first time in more than 60 years that the Water Street grounds won’t feature acrobats, clowns, exotic animals and other circus performances over the 2020 season.

    Read complete story here

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