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Erie County Fair CEO Named to 2023 C-Level Executive Awards
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HAMBURG, NEW YORK – The Erie County Agricultural Society is pleased to announce that its Chief Executive Officer and Fair Manager, Jessica Underberg has been named to Buffalo Business First’s 2023 C-Level Executive Awards. The 12th annual awards recognize Western New York’s 20 most effective business leaders.  

“I’m honored to receive this recognition and to be among such a prestigious list of honorees,” said Jessica Underberg. “I take pride in the mission of the Erie County Agricultural Society and am so appreciative of the team’s dedication and support of our organization.”  

Underberg became CEO & Fair Manager at the Society in October 2017 and since then has taken the organization to new heights. Over the past six years, she has overseen the growth of the largest county fair in the United States and has been instrumental in the development of agricultural programs and livestock shows at the Fairgrounds. Underberg has taken these programs to a level of national recognition.  

Just last year, she was instrumental in the launch of the Youth Livestock Expo which was created with the goals of utilizing the Hamburg Fairgrounds facility to its fullest extent and providing youth more opportunities to show livestock and participate in career development competitions.  Participants are welcomed from across the United States, which offers exhibitors the highest caliber of competition while encouraging participation in youth market animal projects.  In the second year of this initiative, a ‘Grand Drive’ was added to the schedule, which is a full production event complete with red carpet introduction, professional emcee, national judges, lights, and pyrotechnics.  Those that won their division that week were able to compete to be the Grand Champion in their species.   This event was live streamed during the 2023 Erie County Fair.  

Underberg has played an integral role in the Society’s Farm 2 Table educational program, which provides grade school age students the opportunity to learn about the importance of agriculture in our lives through a “hands on” instructional approach. Over the past 11 years, approximately 70,000 Western New York Students have participated in the program. 

Under her leadership, the Erie County Agricultural Society’s Scholarship Program has experienced astounding growth. In 2023, the Scholarship Program awarded a record-breaking $50,000 in college scholarships to students interested in pursuing educational endeavors in agricultural related programs, which was a 25% increase over 2022 scholarship awards.  

Most recently, the Erie County Fair announced its record-breaking food drive resulting in 140,834 lbs. of canned good donations for FeedMore Western New York this August. The donation equates to 117,362 meals for neighbors across Buffalo. This was an astonishing 46% increase over the 96,555 lbs. collected in 2022. The Erie County Fair’s Opening Day Food Drive is the largest summertime food drive for FeedMore WNY.   

Underberg is a strong believer in supporting the professional fair industry and its professionals. In 2007, Jessica earned her Certified Fair Executive status from the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE). In 2019, she served as Chair of the IAFE. With a membership of more than 1,000 fairs, the IAFE represents and advances the interests of agricultural fairs, exhibitions and show associations. In appreciation for her years of service to the Fair industry, earlier this year, Underberg was the recipient of the Hall of Fame Award by the New York State Association of Agricultural Fairs. 

Underberg served as a Board of Director for the Cornell Cooperative Extension from 2009-2011. She is a member of Buffalo’s Business First “40 under 40” class of 2014.  

Underberg resides in Springville, New York with her husband Mark and her two daughters Lilly and Ella.  

About the Erie County Agricultural Society  

The Erie County Agricultural Society is a private not-for-profit membership organization. Established in 1819, the Society is the oldest civic organization in Western New York. The mission of the Erie County Agricultural Society (ECAS), sponsors of the Erie County Fair, is to preserve and enhance, by educational endeavors, the agricultural and historical legacy of New York State. The Fair strives to fulfill appropriate aspects of the agricultural, educational, entertainment and recreational needs of Western New York.  The 184th Erie County Fair will take place August 7th-18th 2024. (www.ECFair.org). 
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