The 2021 Commodity Classic has announced it will transition its annual conference and trade show, originally scheduled for March 4 to 6, 2021, in San Antonio, Texas, to an alternative digital format. The change was necessary due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new format is expected to be offered the first week in March 2021.
“This is about doing the right thing for our farmers, exhibitors, stakeholders, and the broader community in terms of health and safety–which is our top priority,” said Anthony Bush, an Ohio corn farmer and co-chair of the 2021 Commodity Classic representing the National Corn Growers Association. “After careful deliberation among our farmer-leaders and industry partners, the COVID-19 restrictions would prevent us from delivering the type of high-quality experience Commodity Classic attendees and exhibitors have come to expect and enjoy for the past 25 years.”
This is the third major show of 2021 to announce a change of plans from its usual format: Last month, the World Ag Expo said it is canceling its 2021 event entirely, and this month, the American Farm Bureau Federation said it’s annual convention, held in January, will be virtual.
According to Brad Doyle, an Arkansas soybean farmer and co-chair of the 2021 Commodity Classic representing the American Soybean Association, directed health measures due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic such as social distancing guidelines would prevent Commodity Classic from conducting the trade show, educational sessions, and farmer networking–each of which are hallmarks of Commodity Classic. “Farmers and agribusiness companies rate Commodity Classic highly because of its unique energy, excitement and one-on-one engagement with agribusiness companies and fellow farmers,” he said. “The health and safety restrictions required will simply not allow us to provide a productive in-person event that is in keeping with our 25 years of being the nation’s best farmer-led, farmer-focused ag experience.”
The transition of the 2021 Commodity Classic offers an attractive opportunity for farmers who have never attended Commodity Classic, Doyle added. “Now farmers from across the nation and even around the world can get a taste of the Commodity Classic experience without ever leaving their farms,” he said.
Jerry Johnson, Ag Sector Chair of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers said, “Agribusiness companies put Commodity Classic at the top of the list when it comes to opportunities to engage with farmers from across the nation,” he said. “However, our concern for the health and safety of our customers and our employees takes precedence, so all of us in agribusiness will work with the farmer-leaders at Commodity Classic to find innovative ways to connect in 2021.”
Commodity Classic is now redirecting its efforts to developing alternative methods of connecting farmers and agricultural stakeholders. “We realize the total Commodity Classic experience cannot be completely replicated online. Yet a key benefit of Commodity Classic is the educational sessions and presentations from agricultural thought leaders, which are even more important in today’s challenging environment,” said Bush. “We are already exploring ways in which we can deliver high-quality content in unique ways that allow farmers to get the information they seek from the experts they trust.”
The transition to an alternative experience is already underway. More information on the 2021 Commodity Classic will also be available on its website.
The 2022 Commodity Classic will be held in New Orleans on March 10 to 12, 2022. “Like everyone else in agriculture, we are really looking forward to reconnecting with everyone face-to-face,” Doyle added. “We urge everyone to get these dates on their calendar and plan to join us in-person in New Orleans in 2022.”
Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused educational and agricultural experience. Commodity Classic is presented annually by the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers and Association of Equipment Manufacturers.