Ontario’s ever-changing pandemic restrictions have put agricultural organizations in a tough spot as they wrestle with whether or not to move forward with their annual events and meetings and in what format.
As of Feb. 2, five popular farm shows have been completely cancelled for 2022:
• The Canadian Dairy XPO, annually held in April at the Stratford Rotary Complex in Stratford, Ont., usually brings in 16,000 people, but won’t even be having a virtual event this year. With future restrictions still up in the air, the organizers chose not to go ahead with it.
• The Ottawa Valley Farm Show, held annually during the March break in Ottawa, has also been cancelled due to pandemic uncertainties.
• The early-March London Farm Show is refunding all of its exhibitors after canceling, stating that there is not enough time to organize a successful event as restrictions only loosened on January 31. The Agriplex, where the event is normally held, was still being used as a vaccination centre.
• The South Western Ontario Dairy Symposium, held annually in Woodstock, in February is also a no-go “for the safety of everyone involved as the pandemic continues,” the event committee announced.
• The March London Swine Conference was also cancelled.
Some February events have pivoted to an online format:
• Tues. Feb. 8, 2022 – OSCIA’s Annual General Meeting, by Zoom
• Thurs. Feb. 10, 2022 – ONFARM Forum, by Zoom
• Thurs. Feb. 17-18, 2022 – Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario Conference
• Tues. Feb. 22, 2022 – Farm Credit Canada’s Future of Food Conference
• Wed. Feb. 23-24, 2022 – Beef Farmers of Ontario’s Annual General Meeting, by Zoom
A bold few have scheduled in-person events for February:
• Thurs. Feb. 17-19, 2022 – Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies Convention, Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel & Suites, 600 Hwy 7, Richmond Hill, Ont.
• Wed. Feb. 23-24, 2022 – Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention, Niagara Falls Convention Centre, Niagara Falls, Ont.
• Thurs. Feb. 24-26, 2022 – New York Farm Show, New York State Fairgrounds, Syracuse, NY.