County fairs are important to rural communities and honor Iowa’s agricultural heritage and culture. Their success depends on a lot of hard work and planning from many different people and collaboration among organizations. In particular, the Fair Board, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and FFA Chapters work together to provide youth a positive educational experience for developing confidence, leadership and integrity.
To help facilitate communication and planning for a successful fair for youth and fair goers, a committee representing the Association of Iowa Fairs, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and Iowa FFA developed a County Fair Partnership Agreement template. We see this editable template as a tool to facilitate discussion at the county level among the three organizations. We believe that an important part of communication and planning is to have a written record of what was decided. This written document is particularly important as new people join the discussion. Tom Barnes, President, Association of Iowa Fairs, Scott Johnson, Executive Director, Iowa FFA, and John Lawrence, Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach, share their thoughts on the process and the products in this brief video.
Vice President for Extension and Outreach John Lawrence gives an update about the youth programming at county fairs.
The template is intended to be a living document that should be reviewed often and updated as agreed upon by the parties involved. It includes information that is predetermined by Iowa Code or national rules, but the majority of the document is about discussing and describing the many functions that are important to the success of a fair and determining which party is responsible for each function. These parts are negotiable and the parties involved should decide what works best in their county.
The appendix is a set of examples showing how these negotiable items have been handled in other counties. If you have a different suggestion for what works well in your county, please send it to me and we will add it to the appendix to share.
John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach