Virtual fruit and vegetable grower meetings provide continuing education during pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the typical in-person meetings growers attend at the Delaware State Fairgrounds as a part of Ag Week. The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension Vegetable and Fruit Program collaborated with the Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware to provide annual educational meetings for growers. These meetings were an opportunity to learn about new production practices and regulatory requirements from state and regional experts. The meetings also allowed growers, agricultural consultants and vegetable processor personnel to earn continuing education credits to maintain pesticide applicator, nutrient management or crop advisor certification.
Extension staff distributed a Zoom link for the online registration system and coached clientele without much Zoom experience through the connection process. Virtual educational sessions were held offering several hours of programming that brought together association members with speakers from UD Extension, Delaware State University Cooperative Extension, Extension programs from nearby states, the Delaware Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Attendance at each session was equivalent to or exceeded past attendance at in-person meetings. Overall, the online sessions were successful in reaching similar numbers of participants and allowed participants to work within COVID-19 restrictions and earn continuing education credits.
Link to full statement on website: http://landgrantimpacts.tamu.edu/impacts/show/5895