Following a steep rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the Upper Midwest, both the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and Minnesota Corn Growers Association have decided their respective annual meetings, originally set to take place in-person in Mankato, will now move to an all-virtual format. Last month, both organizations announced their annual MN AG EXPO, the state’s premier indoor ag trade show, will be held virtually in 2021.
“We owe it to our farmer-leaders to make responsible decisions that consider the health and safety of all participants and venue personnel,” MSGA President Jamie Beyer said. “We’re all going to miss meeting in-person – I know I’ll miss the bus drive down to Mankato with my fellow growers from northern Minnesota – but the current COVID situation and the uncertainty regarding future gathering restrictions simply leaves us with no other choice but to hold our meetings virtually.”
MCGA will hold its virtual annual meeting and delegate sessions the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 20; MSGA will hold its annual meeting and delegate sessions on Thursday morning, Jan. 21 (MSGA’s pre-resolution meeting on Dec. 14 will also be held virtually). Voting delegates will register with their respective organizations. Additionally, log-in and dial-in information will be forthcoming.
“MCGA’s annual meeting has always been a time for us to get together while advancing the mission of our organization. I am saddened we won’t have that opportunity this year as we take the necessary precautions to maintain our health and safety,” MCGA President Tim Waibel said. “With that, I know we will make this year’s annual meeting a valuable experience, and I hope more members than ever take advantage of the virtual format and attend.”
More than 1,500 attendees and 80 exhibitors packed the trade show floor at the 2020 MN AG EXPO, which featured a diverse roster of speakers, along with a keynote address from Gov. Tim Walz. This year, MSGA and MCGA are working on hosting virtual webinars and learning sessions on mnagexpo.com in lieu of an in-person trade show. All proceeds from MN AG EXPO help fund MSGA’s grassroots advocacy efforts.
Further announcements on webinars and learning sessions will be shared on mnagexpo.com in the coming weeks.
“We are saddened to have to make this announcement, but at the end of the day it’s the right decision,” MSGA Executive Director Joe Smentek said. “We look forward to continuing to ensure our delegates’ voices are heard despite the change in format, and are certainly eager to resume visiting in-person again soon.”