Preparations are in high gear for the 2012 Agricultural Fair slated for May 26 at the Civic Center Grounds in Susupe.
A collaboration of the Department of Lands and Natural Resources and the Saipan Agricultural Fair Association, the agricultural fair is an annual event that showcases locally grown agricultural produce and livestock to promote and support local farmers and ranchers.
At least 11 members of the Saipan Agricultural Fair Association met yesterday at the DLNR office in Lower Base to elect officers and discuss plans for this year’s event, which is now on its 29th year.
The association officers are Calistro Reyes, president; Tom Castro, vice president; Serina Kaipat, secretary; Marianne Teregeyo, treasurer; Robert “Bob” Magofna, animal division chair; and Ben Cabrera, animal division assistant chair.
The group is also eyeing to include in their roster of officers Albert Concepcion to chair the plant division.
At the meeting, Reyes emphasized the need for a detailed plan for the agricultural fair to allow them to consolidate activities and timeline as well as work within their budget.
“A written plan is very important,” said Reyes, adding that it will also avoid errors or oversight experienced in previous agricultural fairs.
Reyes also called on the group to “think outside the box and be more imaginative” to make this year’s event “the best agricultural fair” to date.
Rep. Joseph Palacios (R-Saipan), a member of the association, proposed that the 2012 event should include orchid growers and those involved in aquaculture, which he considers a thriving activity in the Commonwealth.
He also recommended that students participate in the fair, citing the Young Farmers of America program in the U.S. mainland and the youth agriculture program in Taiwan as examples of successful initiatives to promote the industry among younger community members.
Animal division chair Magofna offered to invite elementary students for a contest as to who can provide a good theme for this year’s fair.
Reyes said he is “very impressed and thankful” to the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation for the $20,000 appropriated for the fair. Reyes said they have already asked the Department of Finance to draw down the fund.
“With this money, we can really do something for our event,” he added.
Reyes also said the association will be consulting with acting DLNR secretary Arnold I. Palacios in their preparations.