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Conference Name Preferences for Virtual and Face-to-Face Programs among Agribusiness Professionals

David Ripplinger and Bryon Parman


In response to Covid-19, NDSU Extension Agribusiness launched a webinar series that was at first intended to keep North Dakota audiences informed of rapidly changing conditions in the agricultural economy. As time went on, the program transitioned to a monthly update on agricultural markets and other issues important to producers and other agribusiness professionals. Covid-19 continued for over a year to prevent face-to-face education, which was by far the most common method of delivery in North Dakota for extension content. Other programs, such as a long-standing, day-long program for agricultural lenders, were delivered virtually all at one time rather than four times to different audiences. Dozens of smaller programs were also conducted virtually rather than in-person out of necessity due to ongoing complications and policy related to the pandemic. 

As a result, individuals who would have been averse or reluctant to participate in a virtual Extension program participated given that no other alternative existed at the time. Furthermore, many programs which had been in-person for decades were forced to go virtual giving a contrast for individuals who had participated in both delivery methods.

In this presentation, we'll present the results of a survey of participants in recent NDSU Extension Agribusiness programs, both face-to-face and virtual, to identify preferences for the alternative delivery methods and the implications for future programs at NDSU Extension and other Extension systems.