The 2021 Iowa Specialty Producers Conference, moved virtual for the first time due to COVID-19 restrictions, was held Jan. 19 & 20, 2021, and event organizers are calling it a success.  

“We were fortunate to be able to still provide the same top notch speakers and a wide variety of quality programming to fulfill continuing educational needs for our specialty crop producers, not only here in Iowa, but throughout the Midwest. Thanks to the support of our their nearly 20 partners and sponsors, as well as the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) for their continued investment in the event, we were able to bring more than 30 sessions over the course of two days to our industry members that they were able to attend from the safety and comfort of their homes,” said Nicole Eilers, marketing director with the Iowa Wine Growers Association.  

With more than 130 in attendance at the event, the programming ranged from viticulture and winemaking to hops, vegetables, fruits and social media. Response from industry members and conference attendees has been well received. The event organizers hope to bring back an in-person conference in 2022, with the possibility of a virtual option, since most people are more familiar with the platform. Tentative dates have not yet been set, but they are planning to release information in the coming months. 

The ISPC is planned and hosted through a partnership between the  Iowa Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (IFVGA) and the Iowa Wine Growers Association (IWGA) and made possible through *grant funding from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS).

* Funding for the 2021 Iowa Specialty Producers Conference was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant AM200100XXXXG044. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.

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