72nd Grower Education Conference a Virtual Success
Researcher presentations, Bringing Value to Ag segments and awards ceremonies highlight Zoom event
By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater
University researchers know how to present their findings to potato and vegetable growers and agriculture industry professionals hungry for information, and they can do it via Zoom if that is the way it has to be.
For the first time in its 72-year history, the Industry Show was not held by the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA), whose grower and Associate Division board members were forced to make the difficult decision to cancel the event due to COVID-19.
The much-respected University of Wisconsin (UW) Division of Extension & WPVGA Grower Education Conference, which normally takes place at the Holiday Inn Conference Center, Stevens Point, proceeded as scheduled, via Zoom, February 2-3.
It took a Herculean effort by the Grower Education Conference Planning Committee, led by Dr. Russell L. Groves and Amanda J. Gevens, the WPVGA staff, researchers, company reps and industry professionals to pull off the Virtual Grower Education Conference.
It was worth the effort. Presenting were researchers from the University of Minnesota, Colorado State University, North Dakota State University, the University of Idaho and Oregon State University, all of whom joined forces with representatives from the National Potato Council and Potatoes USA.
More than 200 people registered for the 2021 Virtual Grower Education Conference, and attendance barely wavered for two days.
WPVGA Executive Director Tamas Houlihan welcomed Zoom attendees and gave opening remarks on Tuesday, February 2.
“We felt holding this conference virtually was the right thing to do. We have to respect the health and safety of all our industry members above all else, and researchers are on strict university restrictions,” Houlihan said.