Ag department reviews allocation of Fairmount funds
The Illinois Department of Agriculture met Feb. 19 to determine the allocation of the Fairmount funds.
Illinois Department of Agriculture promotes and regulates the agricultural industry to encourage farming and agribusiness while protecting Illinois consumers and natural resources. Operates the Illinois State Fair and the DuQuoin State Fair.
Here are the meeting's minutes, as provided by the state:
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTUREILLINOIS STANDARDBRED BREEDERS FUND PROGRAM Illinois Standardbred Breeders Fund Advisory BoardIllinois Department of Agriculture Building4-H Conference RoomState Fairgrounds, Springfield, IllinoisFebruary 19, 2016Meeting Minutes Board Members Present: Representing:Mr. Raymond Poe Chairman, Acting Director, IDOAMr. Tom Ostermeier Illinois County FairsMr. Phil Langley Illinois Pari-Mutuel Harness Race TracksMr. Ed Teefey Illinois Standardbred Owners & Breeders Assoc.Mr. Clark Fairley Illinois Harness and Horsemen Assoc.Mr. Greg Sronce Illinois Racing BoardVacant Illinois State Fair Staff Present: Representing:Ms. Rhonda Jachino Acting Bureau Chief Co. Fairs & Horse RacingMs. Kelly Beck Executive I, Co. Fairs & Horse RacingMr. Grant Hammer Chief of Staff, IDOAMr. Warren Goetsch Deputy Director, IDOA Guests Present: Representing:Bill WrightCarl Becker Chairman Raymond Poe welcomed the members. Rhonda Jachino took the roll call. Approval was given by all members that the meeting could be recorded. Rhonda Jachino moved on to the approval of the December 2, 2015 meeting minutes. There were no additions or corrections. Greg Sronce made a motion to approve the minutes, it was seconded and motion carried. Rhonda discussed that the reason for this meeting was to determine the allocation of the Fairmount funds. Rhonda briefly explained the two handouts given. The first handout is on the estimated 2016 Fairmount funds; which showed that the estimated dollars is down from the handout given at the last meeting, and the second handout was the Proposed Summer 2016 Budget listing Fairmount funds only. Rhonda stated that during the fall Colt Association meetings she attended, the associations were in favor of concentrating these funds towards 2 and 3 year-old races. The idea of matching funds was brought up and was a topic discussed at the Colt Association meetings and previously by this Board. Rhonda explained that the Fairmount funds must be spent on Feature Races, per the Department’s General Counsel. Para. 49 funds are split between the county fairs and state fairs. Phil Langley asked for an explanation of the Topline Bonus. Clark Fairley explained the bonus and how it goes only to ICF horses. Rhonda stated that a Draft County Fair Schedule was enclosed for the Board’s use. The Board moved back to a discussion on the Proposed Summer 2016 Budget handout and how to spend the Feature race dollars estimated to be available for the 2016 county fair season. Ed Teefey stated that, in making this decision, he feels consideration should be given to those fairs that put in additional money towards these races. The pros and cons concerning the distribution of these dollars towards 2 and 3 year-old races were discussed instead of it going to Aged races. Downstate Classic and Stallion Stakes races were broken down and discussed. It was again clarified that, per Statute, these dollars can only be spent on Feature races and cannot be used for county fair purses. The past investment made by the State and the importance and economic impact of the standardbred program was discussed and how the industry is moving to other states. The Board began to discuss how to protect the 2 and 3 year-old races starting with suggestions from Clark. They discussed how county fair races being on top of each other hurts horse racing and the need to spread out racing opportunities. The $1,000 loss for each of the Aged ICF races [from the county fair contribution] was considered which equals $10,000. Ed discussed his concerns of filling a 2 and 3 year-old event if he was to give up his aged event. Per Clark, the suggestion that came out of their Illini meeting was to scratch the Aged ICF races and the Topline Bonus and put those funds back into the pot. The series races going on at Hawthorne during this peak period was also mentioned. A discussion on how to split the additional funding totals was held along with requiring matching funds. Rhonda tried to summarize the conversation and asked if the following splits were an accurate depiction: $10,000 towards the Mt. Sterling Pace and Downstate Classic races and $20,000 to the IL Stallion Stakes.Bill Wright spoke about using media and new marketing ideas to promote the standardbred program creating long term plans not just immediate plans.Carl Becker then discussed the process and some changes he would like see happen in the transported fresh semen program. Rhonda stated that the process the Bureau follows is outlined in our Administrative Rules; however, this Board has the option of recommending changes. She suggested that changes be drafted by those involved and brought to the next meeting to discuss.Rhonda brought the meeting back to the distribution of the Fairmount funds. Ed Teefey made a motion that we not fund the Aged ICF 4 & up, Boone County and Topline Bonus and split those funds pro-rata; the Mt. Sterling Pace and the Downstate Classic for 2 and 3 year olds would receive $10,000 each and the Stallion Stakes would receive $20,000. A discussion of this motion was held. Phil Langley seconded the motion. Motion carried.Rhonda asked the Board if the fairs that were going to receive Fairmount funds should also produce matching funds. Discussion was held on various percentages. Clark Fairley made a motion that in order to get the Fairmount funds, the fair holding those races must put up a minimum of 25 of what they are getting from the Department. Ed Teefey seconded. Motion carried with one opposed/present (Tom Ostermeier).Rhonda stated that the proposed FY17 budget had some inaccurate numbers listed.Regulations with no funding were discussed as well as new ideas to promote standardbreds. No further comments by the Board.The 2016 nominations were briefly discussed and past year numbers were provided as comparisons.The 2016 Stakes Guide is being worked on with plans to distribute. Rhonda asked the members to advise her on what she should put in for purses that are unknown. General consensus was that TBD should be used.Rhonda asked if someone would make a motion to reduce the county fair entry fee to $50.00 instead of $100.00. This could then be advertised with hopes of attracting additional nominations. Discussion ensued. Clark Fairley made a motion that entry fees be reduced to $50.00 and to keep maintenance fees the same. Tom Ostermeier seconded. Motion carried.Clark asked about pari-mutuel racing at the State Fairs and if there are no pari-mutuel races, could this money be put into purses. Rhonda stated that to her knowledge, the money is separate; the State Fair event dollars are in a different fund than purse dollars. Although this issue was discussed last year, no final decision was made. The contract for pari-mutuel racing is going to be put out for bid this year. The Board briefly discussed how additional funding might be spent between the two State Fairs.Motion to adjourn the meeting was made by Tom Ostermeier, seconded by Greg Sronce. Motion carried.
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