NCBA, MPF announce new convention dates

Two major industry shows are pushing their convention dates later in 2021 due to the pandemic.

After much discussion, the National Cattlemen's Beef Assn. (NCBA) has decided to move the 2021 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show to Aug. 10-12, 2021.

While the event may have a new date, both the convention and trade show will continue to take place at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19-related restrictions on large meetings and the inability for many trade show exhibitors to travel, NCBA said moving the convention was the best choice to preserve the ability to get together and have a little fun. It noted that due to the change in the time of year, it will be able to add many more outdoor functions.

"We hope you’ll join us in person in August for the 123rd anniversary of this legendary event," the organization said in the announcement. "We’re working behind the scenes to create a great lineup of education, speakers and a world-class trade show, along with networking opportunities, in a safe, responsible manner. We’d like to thank everyone involved in the event from our exhibitors, loyal sponsors and partners for being so patient as we’ve worked through this process. Together, we are going to make this event one to remember."

Another major event date change announced recently was the Midwest Poultry Federation's (MPF) decision to reschedule its 2021 convention from March to May 19-21, 2021. The MPF Convention – celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021 – will be planned as a “hybrid event,” meaning it will have both an in-person show at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minnesota and a virtual companion event online.

“As a board, we know how important it is to be able to get the poultry industry together in person – and how our attendees and exhibitors miss the face-to-face connections we haven’t been able to have because of the pandemic. That’s why we all agreed that rescheduling the show to May dates will give us the best chance of doing that in a safe manner,” said MPF president Scott Waldner, who represents the Chicken & Egg Association of Minnesota on the board.

The in-person MPF Convention will start with pre-show education events and a Welcome Reception on May 19. The Exhibit Hall and education program will run on May 20-21. This is a slight pattern change to Wednesday through Friday for the 2021 dates only.

Like NCBA, MPF is taking steps to plan a safe, in-person show experience. This will include following all guidelines for social distancing and mask wearing that are in place in May.

“The safety and well-being of our attendees and exhibitors is paramount. We are communicating closely with our partners at the Minneapolis Convention Center, Meet Minneapolis and our contracted hotels and continue to follow the most-up-to-date COVID-19 guidance at all governmental levels,” Waldner said. “This includes moving into Exhibit Halls B/C on the street level of the convention center so that we can take advantage of more space to spread out.”

MPF’s virtual companion event will be held during the same show days – May 19-21 – and will offer content directly from the Minneapolis Convention Center as well as education available only online and increased engagement opportunities between exhibitors and attendees. The virtual event will be housed in the same 3-D graphical environment as the 2020 virtual convention in August – with a number of upgrades and improvements to make the online event even better for everyone.

“A hybrid event really provides the best of both worlds, given the uncertainty of COVID-19,” Waldner said. “It’s twice the engagement and twice the networking between exhibitor and attendees – and allows people to participate in MPF in whichever ways work best for them.”

MPF attendee registration fees will not increase and will cover attending either or both show options, including access to all virtual content through May 31, 2021.

Waldner noted: “If we need to make a decision to cancel the in-person show in May because of health and safety concerns, we will continue to move forward with a 100% virtual event that same week.”

Booth sales and sponsorships for the hybrid event are expected to open Nov. 16. Booth rates will not increase and will include a presence in both the in-person and virtual trade shows.

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