STEUBEN COUNTY, N.Y. (WETM) — The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Steuben announced earlier this week that the Steuben County 4-H program will not participate in the county fair next year due to safety and equity concerns.

According to the CCE, the program will be looking for a new venue within Steuben County for 4-H’ers to showcase their work. The CCE is looking for a property that will be safe and welcoming to participants, families, and visitors and follow 4-H rules and policies. The CCE said that these conditions are not guaranteed by the Steuben County Agricultural Society at the Steuben County Fair. The group said it recommends that changes are made at the fairgrounds to improve safety, equity, and inclusion.

“We recognize the importance of the tradition and long-standing history of 4-H at the Steuben County Fair, which makes this a difficult decision,” said a statement released by the CCE on Oct. 26. “We understand and acknowledge that many of our 4-H families are unaware of issues with the Steuben County Agricultural Society and that this will come as a surprise. We must prioritize the safety of our program participants, families and staff and feel that a change in venue is necessary at this time.”

The decision to pull out of the Steuben County Fair came after meetings between multiple 4-H subcommittees, the 4-H Program Advisory Committee, and the CCE Steuben Board of Directors. The Cornell Cooperative Extension director and the New York State 4-H Program director support the Steuben County 4-H program’s decision not to participate in the 2024 Steuben County Fair.

The Steuben County 4-H program’s 2024 showcase will be a multiple day long event at a new location that has not been determined at this time. The showcase will not be held at the same time as the Steuben County Fair.