A MESSAGE FROM ASTA CHAIR JOHN LATHAM AND ASTA PRESIDENT & CEO ANDY LAVIGNE
It is with great disappointment that today we announce the difficult decision has been made to cancel the in-person version of ASTA’s CSS & Seed Expo 2020, due to take place at the Hyatt Regency Chicago from December 7-10, 2020. We will be moving the event to a virtual format with the advent of the new CSS & Seed Expo Virtual, to be held over the same dates.
We know how many of you, including our staff, were looking forward to coming together again in Chicago this winter. We’re acutely aware that since lockdown began, the CSS & Seed Expo has come to represent a beacon of hope for the entire seed industry community. And while we can’t replicate the in-person experience, you can rest assured, planning is already underway to create a virtual experience like no other! We can’t wait for you to see what’s in store.
Our decision was not easy. But first and foremost, it is our responsibility to our participating companies and exhibitors to deliver a strong return on the investment they make in the show. We do that by assembling the largest audience of any seed industry conference in America each year. With corporate travel bans still in place and uncertainty over continued global travel restrictions, we’re sadly in no position to offer that experience this year. We also have no choice in the matter, as Illinois remains under a strict restriction on the size of events allowed in their state, which is now foreseen to continue to December and beyond, and potentially become even stricter in the near term. Additionally, the CSS & Seed Expo is a truly global show, with over 15% of the industry professionals attending from outside North America. Global travel restrictions and uncertainties around when they might be lifted make it impossible for a large proportion of our exhibitors, buyers and key industry professionals to commit to attending.
The second factor is the issue of timing. As industry professionals you know that a show of the scale of the CSS & Seed Expo doesn’t happen overnight. Our industry supply chain and teh investments that our exhibitors make in the show start now. It’s therefore important that we make this decision at a time when we’re still able to reduce the risk and exposure for our exhibitors, partners and suppliers.
And finally, given the ever-evolving situation with the pandemic, we do not want to be in the position of putting the health of our attendees at risk – which is a challenge given the size and scope of a major event like this.
ASTA has been working to develop our new, robust virtual conference platform, enabled with beyond-virtual experiences for business networking and connections. We will continue to work on the roll out of this new CSS & Seed Expo Virtual platform, where innovations and plenty of fresh activity will come online this fall and beyond – including doubling the value of participation for attendees and exhibitors alike by connecting you with an entire second conference audience after December. More details are coming soon for our attendees, exhibitors and sponsors. We look forward to seeing you at the CSS & Seed Expo Virtual roll-out!
Watch the video announcement