Columbus - 
The Stark County Fair is upon us, offering a great opportunity to show our support for the local farming community and Ohio's agriculture industry in general. Ohio has a long and rich agricultural heritage - one that is a source of pride for all Ohioans. Agriculture is also our state's number one industry - contributing more than $105 billion to our economy and providing jobs to one out of every seven Ohioans.

Given the vital role that agriculture plays in our state, lawmakers have worked in recent years to implement policies that help sustain and grow this important industry. Even as advances in research and technology have changed the way many farmers operate, our agricultural community continues to grow and adapt to the ever-changing industry. We have worked to open up new markets and opportunities for Ohio's crops in areas such as biofuels and bioproducts, and have expanded the Ag-Link Program to assist farmers in buying equipment, seeds and other items needed for their operations.

Efforts are also being made at the local level to protect our farming tradition and help the industry prosper for years to come. Farmers markets have been established in many communities as people seek locally-grown food for their tables, and many stores are now featuring products made in the region. As more and more people seek a better understanding of where their food comes from and how it was produced, they see the benefits of a strong agriculture industry and the need to support it.

For more information about the Stark County Fair, including a listing of exhibits and performers, please visit I encourage everyone to come out and visit the fair at least once and browse through the many booths, exhibits and craft displays and demonstrate our support for all those who are employed in some aspect of agribusiness. I will be at the fairgrounds all week, so if we happen to cross paths, please stop me and say hello. I look forward to seeing you there.

Finally, many of you have probably heard or read about the increased number of cases of the H3N2 influenza virus that have occurred in Ohio this summer. While many of the cases that have been identified have been associated with people who have had close contact with pigs, it is important to note that these types of viruses are not unusual in these animals. All of the animals at the fair are monitored for signs of any illness and checked by veterinarians, and any showing symptoms of disease are removed from the fair.

Fair visitors are encouraged to wash their hands after touching any animals at the fair and to avoid eating or drinking while in the animal areas. The Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Department of Health are working together to keep county health departments and county fair boards updated on developments - as well as to collect information - in order to make sure everyone, especially the public, has the information they need to remain healthy.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have questions or concerns about any state-related matter. You can reach my office by phone at (614) 466-0626 or at or by writing State Senator Scott Oelslager, Ohio Statehouse, 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, OH  43215.
Senator Oelslager represents Ohio's 29th District which contains a portion of Stark County. He serves as Chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. For more information, please visit
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