This year on Feb. 26 and 27, the Mid-South Farm and Gin show will be held in a virtual only format accessed via www.farmandginshow.com
That's a bit disappointing because I will miss the socialization. For me, it has always been about seeing the people I haven't seen all year, talking about farming, eating good food and hanging out in downtown Memphis.
However, I've been able to preview the show’s virtual site and it's really pretty well put together.
Because of the pandemic I've attended enough virtual meetings now to know that the virtual experience can have some advantages. They are easy enough to access on the web and if you have a smartphone you can view the meetings from the cab of your truck, your home office or even a lounge chair on the beach if you desire.
The reach of these events can be spectacular. I was speaking to someone at the University of Tennessee who told me that the Milan No-Till Crop Production Field Day had about 30,000 hits this year for its virtual field day within days of posting its information to the web.
That's just crazy. Can you imagine 30,000 people trying to get on one of those old hay wagons to see the crops?
Of course, some big summertime field days have advanced to airconditioned buses, but still that many people on a local field day site would be unmanageable.
It's great that so many people are able to access meetings that they were not able to get to physically before.
Pre-pandemic, Extension specialists and those involved in crop production or outlook meetings hit the roads for localized events across the state. It ate up a lot of time on the road if they had to go to several meetings in different counties. Now, one session can be broadcast across the state and reviewed as necessary.
Sometimes you can even get continuing education credits through the virtual Extension meetings.
In most cases the broadcast sessions can be viewed after the live events are held. Interested parties can see the information at their leisure and even go back to it if they missed something.
For this year's farm and gin show, vendors will be able to add videos and information to their virtual booths online. They can make appointments via the virtual site and visit with attendees.
From what I've seen, you really need to check out this year's farm and gin show online. They're even going to have some great giveaways.
And, since Memphis is in a phase of pandemic restrictions that allows 50% occupancy of restaurants, I may slip into downtown Memphis and make a visit to Pearl's Oyster House or the Rendezvous that weekend. Maybe you will, too. We may not be able to sit at the same table, but I can wave at you.