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January 14, 2021

80th annual Maine Agriculture Trades Show will be held online next week

an overhead shot shows a crowded convetntion floor with dozens of booths and people milling around Courtesy / Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry The 2018 Agricultural Trades Show brought thousands to the Augusta Civic Center. The 80th edition of the show this year will be held online.

The annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show, which normally draws thousands to the Augusta Civic Center over three days, will be held online for five days next week.

The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's 80th edition of the event is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 19, through Saturday, Jan. 23, livestreamed on the Whova Event app, as well as the DACF YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Attendees who register can view the full program and exhibitions, as well as access offers from exhibitors that include farm and retail businesses, producer associations, membership groups, boards and commissions. All programming will be available to view on the three platforms after the show is completed.

The show is traditionally a chance for producers, sellers and consumers to network, and also features annual meetings from a variety of agriculture-related organizations. It is geared toward promoting industry collaboration and progress, a place where those attending can take stock of current programs, new technology and gather information on the industry, organizers said last year.

The show is also a chance for businesses and organizations to promote themselves and network. This year, with the online format, attendees can sign up for deals and offers at exhibitor's "booths" and earn reward points toward Real Maine merchandise for visiting exhibits. Attendees can also share suggestions and comments through the virtual Community Board and submit questions for conference sessions.

Discussions and workshops range from big-picture topics like "2020 Drought Review and Preparing for the Future," to specific ones on hemp, cheese-making, pest control and business strategy, for instance, how entrepreneurs can prepare sell sheets and sales presentations for retail buyers.

The online show lists nearly 150 exhibitors, ranging from producers and agricultural businesses, organizations and resources, to Hannaford and Revision Energy.

DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal will speak at a brown bag luncheon keynote at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

More than 20 programs at last year's show offered learning opportunities at which those who work in the industry could earn certificates. This year's show offers similar opportunities, particularly pesticide training credits.

A full schedule, as well as instructions on how to access the show, is available on the DACF webpage.

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