Capital press. (Salem, OR) 19??-current, February 12, 2021, Page 9, Image 9

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    Friday, February 12, 2021 9
Spokane Ag Show
Spokane Ag Show goes virtual this year
Capital Press
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
Melisa Paul
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. Sched-
ules 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 piv-
oted using the online platform Map
Your Show. The platform allows
exhibitors to manage their content,
connect with customers, post vid-
eos 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
The virtual trade show will
likely “forever change the land-
scape” 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 plat-
form,” she said. “That said ... the
way we connect as an industry is
best done in-person.”
Ag economist will offer a look into future Celebrating region’s agricultural leaders
Capital Press
Capital Press
At this time of year,
wheat farmers should pay
attention to the pace of
exports, a Northwest ag
economist says.
If there are more exports
than the USDA projections,
that’s price positive. If
there are less, prices might
decline, said Randy Forten-
bery, small grains econo-
mist at Washington State
Fortenbery will offer his
annual economic analysis
during this year’s virtual
Spokane Ag Show.
For 2021, Fortenbery
will look at USDA crop
acreage projections, fall
delivery prices for wheat
and how they will affect
spring plantings.
Corn acres are expected
to be slightly down, but
soybeans are expected to be
up. He will weigh the effect
on wheat plantings.
The 2021 U.S. wheat
supply could be smaller
than in 2019 or 2020,
because carryover will be
down if exports continue
at their current pace. The
decline could be greater
than the acreage increase
with average yields would
produce, Fortenbery said.
“It’s not clear that sup-
ply will be significantly
higher even if acreage goes
up,” he said.
Other forecasters made
Agricultural leaders don’t
do it for recognition.
The Spokane Ag Show
wants to honor them anyway.
“We’re looking for those
that go above and beyond,
really do something special to
highlight a certain product or
the industry overall,” said Tim
Cobb, chairman of the Excel-
lence in Agriculture com-
mittee and owner of Farm-
land Company Management,
which sponsors the award.
“When we do find them, we
do our best to celebrate them.”
The award recognizes
individuals or organizations
that make a significant con-
tribution to agriculture in the
Inland Northwest.
The selection commit-
tee considers four criteria
— innovation in agriculture,
economic and environmen-
tal stewardship contribution
to agriculture, positive impact
on agriculture and industry
awareness and outreach.
Matthew Weaver/Capital Press File
Randy Fortenbery, small grains economist at Wash-
ington State University, will discuss the outlook for
grain prices during his virtual Spokane Ag Show pre-
early predictions that the
number of U.S. wheat acres
could increase. Those pro-
jections were made before
any winter wheat seeding
surveys, Fortenbery said.
Spring wheat seeding infor-
mation is available in June.
“While there is a bit of
an increase, it doesn’t nec-
essarily translate into a
huge increase of supply
if ending stocks go down
as they’re expected to this
coming year,” Fortenbery
U.S. ending stocks are
projected to be lower, but
that picture will become
clearer in May, Fortenbery
reflected in the reduced
domestic supply, Forten-
bery said in December.
Several factors deter-
mine whether planting
more wheat makes sense
for a farmer, Fortenbery
said, including the price of
alternative crops such as
Fortenbery hopes to have a
clearer picture of the Biden
administration’s agriculture
Tom Vilsack, the agri-
cultural secretary in the
Obama administration, has
been chosen to return in the
USDA’s top job. That could
indicate a return to Obama-
era agricultural policies.
“You know the folks, the
type that are putting them-
selves out there for the greater
good,” Cobb said. “The coun-
tryside is full of them.”
Fairfield, Wash., farmer
Marci Green received the
2020 Excellence in Agricul-
ture Award.
“There are lots of good
leaders in agriculture, and
so the fact I was singled out
is very flattering,” she said.
“I was surprised but very
To Green, a leader is will-
ing and able to put in the time,
effort and energy to make a
“It also has a lot to do with
listening to the people you’re
working with and working
for,” she said.
Her advice to possible
“If there’s something you
have an interest in, show up,”
she said. “Almost every orga-
nization is looking for the peo-
ple to be involved, to spread
the workload, to have new
ideas and new voices.”
This year, Cobb expects
to receive some nominations
for folks who have perse-
vered during the COVID-19
“Agriculture is essential,
and we feel like these excel-
lence awards are going to find
those that made sure it was
essential,” he said.
Cobb urges members of
the industry to think about the
leaders they know, and con-
sider nominating them in the
“In an industry where most
people would just as soon step
to the side as opposed to step-
ping forward to receive an
award, those are the best kind
of people to give awards to,”
he said.
Weatherman to offer outlook for the region
Capital Press
When Art Douglas
talks, Northwest farmers
The weatherman —
a longtime fixture at the
Spokane Ag Show — will
be talking again during
this year’s show, albeit
online. He will be a fea-
tured speaker during this
year’s virtual ag show.
Public gatherings and
events such as ag shows
have been banned by state
officials trying to stanch
the spread of the COVID-
19 coronavirus.
Douglas is a professor
emeritus at Creighton Uni-
versity in Omaha, Neb.
His forecasts are highly
anticipated by farmers
who attend the show each
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