MSGA annual meeting to be held in-person with livestream option
After careful consideration and discussion among their respective boards, the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and the Minnesota Corn Growers Association have announced the annual MN AG EXPO, the state’s premier indoor agriculture trade show, will be pared down to a virtual format in 2021 due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions.
“We are disappointed we won’t be able to hold our traditional MN AG EXPO events as we have in years past, especially following the 2020 EXPO, which was one of the best yet,” MSGA President Jamie Beyer said. “We just felt, given all the uncertainty at the moment, it would be very difficult to navigate all the logistics involved in planning in an indoor trade show that hosts hundreds of farmers each day.”
MSGA and MCGA will still hold their respective annual meetings in-person at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center in Mankato on Wednesday, Jan. 20 with a joint lunch and speaker. A livestream broadcast will be available for Minnesota farmers who are unable to attend. All in-person activities will follow social distancing guidelines required by the State of Minnesota and the CDC.
“One of our favorite parts of MN AG EXPO is the opportunity to come together and catch up with our peers,” MCGA President Tim Waibel said. “While that will certainly be missed this year, we look forward to continuing to provide the same high-quality speakers and opportunities to learn while keeping in mind the health and safety of all.”
More than 1,500 attendees and 80 exhibitors packed the trade show floor at the 2020 MN AG EXPO, which featured a keynote address from Gov. Tim Walz. This year, MSGA and MCGA are working on hosting virtual speakers and researcher videos in lieu of an in-person trade show. All proceeds from MN AG EXPO help fund MSGA’s grassroots advocacy efforts in St. Paul and Washington, D.C.
“This was a difficult decision because MN AG EXPO has become a yearly destination for our state’s ag community, and it’s one of the events that’s critical to funding our mission,” MSGA Executive Director Joe Smentek said. “At the end of the day, we need to be safe and cautious, but we’re also challenging ourselves to get creative and make the most out a less-than-ideal situation.”