COVID-19 forces calendar, format changes for rural events: UPDATED

Grain Central, March 18, 2020


NUMEROUS rural events and conferences scheduled for March and April have been postponed since Friday amid increasing efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 cases.

Here’s a list of agricultural conferences and events that have been affected by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, and those where decisions to proceed or postpone are still being considered (this list will be added to and updated as required in coming days and weeks):

Grain sector:

The Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) has postponed its Australian Wheat for South East Asia Noodle Workshop in Yangon, Myanmar until further notice. In collaboration with Austrade, AEGIC had planned to hold an Australian Malting Barley for India Conference in New Delhi. This has also been postponed.  Events planned in China, Japan and South Korea in June remain on AEGIC’s schedule.

The Australian Grains Industry Conference (AGIC) has postponed its AGIC Asia 2020 events. These were scheduled to take place in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on 3 March and Shanghai, China on 5 March.

The AGIC 2020 event in Melbourne will take place on a virtual platform on 30 July.

The biennial Poultry Information Exchange and Australasian Milling Conference 2020 scheduled for the Gold Coast 17-19 May has been postponed. Its revised dates are yet to be decided upon.

The Global Pulse Confederation (GPC) 2020 convention scheduled to take place April 15-18, 2020, in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has been cancelled.

“The health and well-being of our members, sponsors, exhibitors, staff and other participants far outweighs any potential financial consequences of cancelling this convention,” the GPC executive committee said. “Our commitment to the global pulse industry extends beyond our convention, as we look to protect the families and communities represented by the participants from 40 plus countries who regularly attend the convention.”

Paid convention attendees, exhibitors and sponsors will all receive a credit for the next scheduled conference, and convention sponsors will be contacted individually as a follow-up to this announcement to discuss additional details. Contact: [email protected]

The Nuffield International Contemporary Scholars Conference (CSC), which kicked off at the Tangalooma Resort on Moreton Island off Brisbane on Friday, will officially conclude today (Wednesday) at 12 noon, 2.5 days earlier than originally planned.

The Thursday farm tours, and the final day of the CSC scheduled for Friday have been cancelled.

Nuffield Australia program operations manager, Nicola Raymond, said most of the New Zealanders left on Saturday night to return home before the New Zealand directive to self-isolate for 14 days came into effect and a few of the British had also left early.

The Australian Farm Institute’s Conservation Agriculture in 2030 Conference will  will no longer take place on 22–23 June in Sydney.

Alternative options under consideration include holding a virtual conference (broadcast online via interactive webinars) mid-year, or postponing a physical conference until later in the year (date to be confirmed as the situation unfolds).

In the meantime, AFI is arranging refunds for registration fees already paid.

The Climate and Carbon in Agriculture 2020 Conference that was scheduled to be held on 31 March – 1 April at the Adelaide Convention Centre in South Australia has been postponed.

The event organiser, Climate Research Strategy for Primary Industries (CRSPI), has determined that the potential for the COVID-19 virus to impact the conference warrants the event being postponed.

Those who have registered will receive a full refund and will be notified once an alternative date has been identified.

Options for holding the conference in October or November 2020 are being investigated and CRSPI encourages anyone keen to attend to register their interest so that they can be informed of details closer to the event.

The Tocal Field Days due to be held on May 1-2 near Paterson in the NSW Hunter Valley have been cancelled. It is the second time the field days have not been held since they began in 1985, with the 2015 event called off due to serious flood damage to the main access road. The next field days will be on April 30, May 1 and 2 in 2021.

FarmFest field days at Toowoomba in southern Queensland, originally set down for June 2-4, have been rescheduled to Tuesday, October 13 – Thursday, October 15, 2020.

South Australia’s largest annual field days, the South East Field Days at Lucindale, due to be held later this week on 20-21 March have been cancelled.

The Australian Institute of Packaging has postponed its upcoming 2020 annual conference until later this year. The conference was due to be held on 1 and 2 April in Melbourne. Further information will be provided on the winners of the 2020 Packaging Innovation & Design Awards, originally designed to be announced at the conference.

Specialist rural property agency Colliers has cancelled its 2020 Colliers Agribusiness Research and Forecast Report launch event, planned for multiple states on 7 and 8 April.

The Tractor and Machinery Association (TMA) has postponed this year’s Towards 2030 Conference which was due to be held on 21st July in Melbourne. The association is working to determine a replacement date.

Livestock sector:

The 2020 Sydney Royal Easter Show has been cancelled. This is the first time the show has been cancelled because of a public health emergency since the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1919.

The Royal Agricultural Society chief executive Brock Gilmour said the cancellation was a huge disappointment for the show community, particularly exhibitors and visitors from rural and regional NSW who love attending the show to catch up with friends every year.

“We are implementing a number of measures to deal with ticket and entry fee refunds and will be in contact with ticket holders and exhibitors regarding this process within the next five working days,” he said.

The organisers of the 2020 Royal Melbourne Show set down for 19-29 September say it will still go ahead, at this stage.

The Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association has postponed its annual conference which was scheduled to be held in Alice Springs on March 26 and 27. Registrations from the 2020 event will be carried over to next year’s conference in 2021.

The Royal Agricultural Society announced the cancellation of Sydney’s annual Royal Easter Show. It’s the second time in 101 years that the event has been cancelled due to disease risk, having been put off in 1919 due to the Spanish Flu epidemic that killed 20 million worldwide.

The Intercollegiate Meat Judging Association has decided to postpone its Northern Conference, which was scheduled to be held in Rockhampton next month, due to the public health risks and travel restrictions caused by coronavirus.

Hosted by CQUniversity and Teys Australia in Rockhampton, the event provides meat science training and career development networking to university students from across Australia, as well as young beef industry professionals. However, with up to 100 people expected to be in close contact at the event and visiting numerous work sites in the Rockhampton region, the committee has decided the community’s health and safety must take precedence.

The 2020 Casino Beef Week was planned for Casino in May but will now be postponed until later in the year, possibly early September, but that will depend on coronavirus developments and Australian Government advice, the Casino Beef Week Committee said this morning.

MLA and LiveCorp have this morning confirmed they will postpone the 2020 LEP EXPO which was to be held in Jakarta on 7-8 April.

“Indonesia is one of Australia’s most important trading partners and we are committed to working together with its beef industry to support the food security of local communities,” an MLA/LiveCorp statement said. “The LEP EXPO presents a key opportunity to increase collaboration and share insights towards a more sustainable and safer trade. However, restrictions on large gatherings and travel are being put in place by industry and government to stem the spread of COVID-19.  This is to protect the health of communities globally – a priority for all of us.”

New dates in September and October 2020 are being considered and will be advised, once confirmed.

The Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Queensland has delayed its annual conference, which was to be held in Roma on March 19-20. The LRTAQ said that at this point it anticipates running the conference later this year and will keep members up to date when a new date is known.

A Farmers2Founders Ideas Program for ag technology innovators planned for Toowoomba on Tuesday and Wednesday this week has also been cancelled. The event was designed to bring a dozen or more developers behind farm and post farm-gate innovations together for a development program.

Events still under consideration

A number of other upcoming industry events are still considering their position, in light of coronavirus.

The 2020 Australian Wagyu Association annual conference is planned for 29 April to 2 May on the Gold Coast. AWA chief executive Matt McDonagh told Beef Central his organisation was in frequent contact with the conference venue, the RACV Royal Pines resort, who were providing policies and procedures to AWA regarding their assurances and ability to manage the event.

“The AWA is assessing all information from the venue and from the Government as it arises,” Dr McDonagh said.

This year’s biennial World Meat Congress planned for Cancun, Mexico, is a little later in the calendar, and may yet escape the travel impacts associated with coronavirus.

The event is scheduled for 11 and 12 June. Organisers are yet to make an announcement about whether the event will go ahead, be postponed or cancelled.






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