About two months ago, I mentioned that my company was going to be a part of a virtual conference in dairying—in Chile.   Today was day one of the two-day event–and what fun it is to see it become a reality!

Around 350 participants are hearing from top-notch professors from around the globe, passing along the latest research in agronomy, nutrition and management for dairy and beef cattle.  They come from all over Latin America.  They can ask questions of the speaker, and they can interact with each other.  They can send messages via chat or email; if they want, they can pop over to a video interface and see each other to talk further. 

Best of all, for 2020:  no one has to fear COVID, wear a mask, use buckets of hand sanitizer or wipe.

But here’s the most interesting part of this whole experiment:  it’s reaching a different market. 

For the most part, the courses I’ve worked with required people to travel to another country.  That has always meant a higher cost—plus obtaining a visa.  There is a significant inherent barrier in this model. I’ve been intrigued by the opportunities the virtual conference represents.  

As the course organizer and I chatted briefly this afternoon, we were both happy.  “It’s a whole new world,” he said.  “I would never have organized it this way if it had not been for the pandemic.” 

One more silver lining.