When COVID-19 restrictions began in mid-March, it wasn’t surprising that conferences and agriculture events were postponed or cancelled outright. Soon after, cancellations stretched into the summer months, or events moved to a virtual or online-only platform, and recent announcements of Agribition in the west and The Royal in the east seemed to be the final call for the 2020 season.

Many speculated that December would be the end of cancellations and postponements, but with the recent news of the March 2021 Western Canadian Dairy Seminar going virtual, it begs the question — when, if ever, will we get back to live, in-person events?

There’s a second side to this, as well. While in-person events may be off the table for some time, given the pandemic risks, holding events virtually or online only is an option. We are just now seeing the first of these events being held. Their success depends on uptake and participation, something that’s not a given, especially when farmers and ranchers struggle with slow Internet on the best of days.

If online-only is popular, many events are bound to continue, with new events evolving, too. But if virtual events struggle to attract viewers and participants, what does this mean for agriculture events in general?

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