The Spokane Ag Show will be Feb. 23-25, and this year’s edition is virtual for the first time ever.
“We need to make sure our industry is supported during a year when resources are scarce,” said Melisa Paul, the show’s director. “Agriculture is the bedrock of a strong community, and now more than ever, we want to make sure it’s a strong bedrock. Whether it be politics or COVID, we’re going to weather it just fine.”
Pesticide recertification and first aid credits for Washington, Oregon and Idaho will be a primary focus, offered each day.
The show typically brings in 7,000 to 8,500 visitors. Paul expects an even larger crowd because of the credits offered.
“It’s not as easy to stay current on those when you’re not able to walk into a meeting and update your hours,” Paul said.
This year’s presentations will be a combination of previously recorded and live sessions. Schedules will be finalized and posted a week before the show, she said.
A youth-focused session is in the works for Feb. 25, she said.
Organizers had planned to have the show in person, but then pivoted using the online platform Map Your Show. The platform allows exhibitors to manage their content, connect with customers, post videos and demonstrations and host private events, Paul said.
Exhibitors who register by Feb. 16 will be able to use the platform to connect with clients for an entire year, Paul said.
The show typically draws 300 exhibitors. With it online, it could draw more than normal, Paul said.
“The sky’s the limit,” she said. “Now more than ever, it’s really important to stay in front of your clients.”
The virtual trade show will likely “forever change the landscape” for the show’s exhibitors and attendees, Paul said. It’s forced the organizers to grow and provide more resources, she said.
“I think we’ll forever have a stronger, more robust online platform,” she said. “That said ... the way we connect as an industry is best done in-person.”