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State agriculture director welcomes 2003 fairgoers

Dear Friends,

As a child growing up in Florida, I always looked forward to our county fair with great enthusiasm. Fairs feature exhibits, rides, entertainment, games, music and food. They also enable us to see examples of the finest produce grown in Florida as well as some of the best livestock and poultry, new farm equipment and exhibits demonstrating the latest technological advances in agriculture.

Fairs and livestock shows are fun as well as educational. They offer an opportunity to learn about agriculture and the importance it plays in our society. Florida agriculture is key to the economic health and well-being of this state. Our farmers and ranchers produce cash receipts in excess of $7-billion annually. Florida's agriculture and forest industry combined are estimated to have more than a $50-billion impact on this state's economy.

Familiar faces of friends and neighbors who represent the past, present and future of Florida agriculture's rich heritage greet us at every display and exhibit. Fairs help showcase the state's advanced agricultural and technical expertise and remind us of those dedicated and hardworking individuals who remain strong in their commitment to providing the nation with a safe and secure food supply. The future of our agriculture industry is a bright one and is forecast by the impressive achievements of our youth programs such as 4-H and FFA.

As Florida's commissioner of agriculture, I have a profound appreciation for the positive impact that fairs and livestock shows have on the agriculture industry and I still share the same enthusiasm for the excitement and thrills these shows bring to our local communities. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Citrus County Fair.

Sincerely,

Charles H. Bronson,

commissioner of agriculture

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