For the first time in its nearly 60-year history, The Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review, scheduled for Sept. 22- 24, will not be held in-person. Instead, a virtual show will be implemented for 2020.
The farm show, sponsored by Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), annually attracts over 100,000 visitors from all over the United States and Canada to the show site in London, Ohio.
“We are committed to delivering a robust and innovative virtual show in support of agriculture during this pandemic,” said Cathann A. Kress, vice president and dean of CFAES.
“Throughout its history, the Farm Science Review has been at the forefront of showcasing the future of agriculture,” she said. “While it may look different in 2020, we will continue to meet the needs of our growers and partners through access to exhibitors, virtual demonstrations, and education about the most recent advancements in agricultural production.”
The three-day event normally allows agricultural producers to peruse 4,000 product lines from 600 commercial exhibitors, view field demonstrations, and learn the latest in agricultural production. Popular educational programs feature specialists from The Ohio State University, Central State University, and other land-grant institutions.
“Due to the rapidly changing conditions in the spread of COVID-19 across the U.S., the decision was made to hold a virtual show,” said Nick Zachrich, Farm Science Review manager. “We have worked diligently to plan for another incredible show demonstrating the newest developments in equipment, research, and application to support agricultural production.”
Current conditions are not conducive to hosting an in-person event. “With our multigenerational audience, we determined a need to prioritize everyone’s health and ensure that we are doing our part to contain the spread of the virus during this global pandemic,” he said.
While extremely disappointing for everyone involved, Zachrich said that Farm Science Review management and its executive committee believe this is the right decision to keep visitors, exhibitors, partners, and staff safe.
In addition, the State of Ohio Responsible Restart guidelines currently limit mass gatherings. There is little reason to anticipate changes in the next two months that would provide for the ability to meet Farm Science Review’s daily in-person attendance of between 35,000 to 50,000 visitors.
“We understood early on that regardless of the number of cases, the show would have to take a drastically different approach in order to meet the health and safety requirements for COVID-19, such as physical distancing and sanitization,” Zachrich said. “While we would have liked to wait until closer to the event to make a decision, we felt compelled to let suppliers, exhibitors, and partners know so they can begin to plan for a virtual show.”
More information will be shared in the forthcoming weeks about the 2020 virtual Farm Science Review program and how to engage. Visit fsr.osu.edu for ongoing updates.
Submitted by the Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).