Gov. Pat Quinn opened the 2011 Illinois State Fair by declaring that it's an "investment" in jobs and need not produce a profit.
The Democrat says 40 percent of Illinois jobs are in some way related to agriculture. He says the state's exports - including farm products - are up by a third this year.
The fair lost $34 million from 2001 to 2009. The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reported last week that the 2009 loss of $2.8 million was about half of what it was eight years earlier.
Fair officials say breaking even would require hiking the lowest-in-the-nation $5 admission fee or vendor rental.
Quinn says he again plans to "eat my way across" the fair and has already had three pork chops on-a-stick.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the governor also added an elephant ear and ice cream to his fair plate.
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