Although grower and exhibitor interest remains high, AgNet Media has canceled the 2020 Citrus Expo and Vegetable & Specialty Crop Expo in the interest of public safety.
For nearly three decades, Citrus Expo has been a tradition that growers look forward to each year. Unfortunately, that tradition will be on hiatus this year, due to the recent rapid escalation of COVID-19 cases in Florida.
Robin Loftin, president of AgNet Media, the host of Citrus Expo, made the difficult decision on Monday to cancel this year’s event citing safety and health concerns associated with the increasing coronavirus pandemic. While AgNet Media had every intention of producing the event, a public health advisory issued by Florida State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees prompted the company to change its decision. The advisory, which recommends wearing masks in public places, advises all individuals to refrain from gatherings of more than 50 people.
“When we made the decision to move forward with the Citrus Expo event, Florida had just entered phase two of reopening, COVID-19 cases were down, and the decision to continue with the event made sense,” Loftin said. “Unfortunately, though, as we have seen with this pandemic over the past three and a half months, there are new developments almost daily. Cases have been spiking recently in Florida. Our top priority will always be the health and well-being of our Citrus Expo attendees, exhibitors, sponsors and the AgNet Media team. Therefore, we feel it is prudent to cancel the event amid the uncertainty with COVID-19.”
AgNet Media, in conjunction with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is planning to host virtual seminar programs for citrus, vegetable and specialty crop growers. This will include seminars that would have been presented at Expo. The details are still being finalized, but it will take place in August.
“We understand the value that Citrus Expo brings to growers and industry leaders and we are working to provide a virtual resource that will continue to benefit the industry,” said Event Manager Josh McGill. “Please stay tuned for more information.”