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Northwest Ag Show will be virtual in 2021
October 2, 2020

Because of the continuing uncertainties prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Northwest Ag Show will be conducted only as a virtual event, Feb. 16-18.

The show, in its 51st year, is owned by EO Media Events LLC, managed by the Capital Press and is presented by Harvest Capital Company. Kubota and Coastal Farm & Ranch are other major sponsors.

For the last two years the show has been hosted at the Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center in Salem.

“We have made the decision to shift to a virtual format to ensure the safety of both our exhibitors and our patrons,” Joe Beach, editor and publisher of the Capital Press, said. “Many shows and ag events in the region have been canceled altogether, but we still want to provide a venue for exhibitors and their potential customers to come together and for speakers to share information with the ag community.”

The decision was prompted by uncertainty over the rules that will govern live events in January. The rules now in effect for Salem would limit the number of exhibitors and patrons indoors at the show at any one time to 100.

Social distancing and strict cleaning regulations are also in place.

There were more than 120 exhibitors at the show last year, and many booths were staffed by two or more representatives. The current rules would severely limit show participation.

Also because of the pandemic, traditional participants such as the FFA and Oregon Ag in the Classroom would not be able to take part in the show.

“While it is possible the restrictions will be loosened or lifted altogether by January, it is extremely difficult to plan and produce an event that is meaningful to the ag community without knowing for certain that we will be allowed to open the doors,” Beach said.

The Capital Press is working with Glacier FarmMedia to produce the virtual show. Glacier FarmMedia, a Canadian publisher, successfully converted its two large, outdoor shows — Ag in Motion and Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show — into virtual events.

While the virtual experience is different than a live event, the Northwest Ag Show will retain many of the familiar elements associated with farm and ranch events. There will be a daily lineup of presentations. Visitors will have the opportunity to check out exhibitor booths, watch a video presentation by the exhibitor, access information about products and services, and in some cases interact in real time with a company representative.

But unlike the live event, the virtual Northwest Ag Show content will be available for 12 months. Registered users will be able to return as many times as they want over that time to revisit exhibits and watch presentations.

“We look forward to returning to the fairgrounds in 2022,” Beach said. “We see this enhancing a live event in the future, not replacing it. But under the circumstances it allows us to produce a show while the pandemic plays out.”

Farmers check out the exhibits, 2019