New Ontario Agricultural Conference goes virtual

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Ontario’s newest agricultural conference will bring back favourites of the conferences it is replacing.

The Ontario Agricultural Conference is an online event Jan. 6 and 7 that has grown out of the SouthWest Agricultural Conference, the Eastern Ontario Crop Conference and involves the Heartland and Golden Horsehoe soil and crop improvement associations.

“We’ve been successful providing leading edge information and the best speakers to advise and inform growers and retailers,” says Albert Tenuta, co-chair of the conference.

Both the education and the ability to interact with speakers, exhibitors and other farmers have been part of the popularity of the SouthWest Agricultural Conference (SWAC) and Tenuta says the goal is to replicate that experience in an online platform.

The conference will feature 40 sessions in total with three sessions live on each day of the conference. The other sessions will be recorded and all of them will be available until the end of March. There will be opportunities to chat with speakers during sessions. There will be up to 16 certified crop advisor credits available during the conference.

Popular live sessions at SWAC including the Production Pundits session will be back, but with some new faces. This year’s Production Pundits include Deb Campbell of Agronomy Advantage, Chris Olbach of Corteva and Ken Currah of BASF, along with moderator Peter Johnson of Realagriculture.

Attendees will have a last chance to hear from Dr. Bob Neilsen of Purdue University, who is retiring. With Neilsen in the session will be Greg Stewart of Maizex Seeds. The Corn Whisperer session will look at corn growing tips that work.

Other live sessions include:

  • IPM Mythbusters
  • Road safety, with two MTO experts
  • Where the rubber hits the road: compaction issues
  • Soybean success — how to hit massive soybean yields

Information on the other 33 sessions can be found at

Tenuta says there will be other post conference activities, including seven discussion sessions based on particular topics that have proved popular at the conference. This will give attendees more opportunity to discuss and ask questions on a topic.

There will also be a social hour, as there is at SWAC.

“One of the highlights with the SouthWest Ag Conference is the social side,” says Tenuta and it will happen at the end of the first day. “We hope to make it fun and try to get that social interaction there.”

Part of the fun of a farm event is collecting a bag of information and goodies. There will be a free “swag bag” available from sponsors, says Tenuta. Conference workbooks, a popular reference kept by farmers, will also be available.

“We’ve had overwhelming support from agriculture sponsors and the agriculture industry. They are a critical part to the industry, but also a critical partner to get that information into the hands of our producers as well.”

Looking forward, Tenuta says he hopes that 2022 will bring an in-person Ontario Agricultural Conference, but he also believes that future events will be a hybrid of in-person and virtual events, as it expands the potential for more people to attend, both from a facilities capacity and geographic perspective. The live SWAC has sold out for the past several years. Virtual events mean that attendees can watch sessions when it works for them.

Tenuta says he’s hoping to break attendance records with no physical limitations to attendance this year.

Conference registration can be found at