Ag Policy Blog

Coronavirus Shuts Down Major Ag Events

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Several major agricultural events are being shut down nationally out of an abundance of concern over the spread of COVID-19. More announcements of cancelations are also expected in the coming days. (DTN file image)

Like much of the country right now, the coronavirus is forcing some high-profile agricultural events to shutdown.

Sports events, such as the NCAA basketball tournament, announced now they would play games without fans in the stands. Then the National Basketball Association late Wednesday announced it would suspend its season after a player tested positive. That decision came after immunologist Anthony Fauci, a member of President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force, warned in a congressional hearing Wednesday that the public should avoid large crowds.

“We would recommend that there not be large crowds,” Fauci said in response to a question from a congressman specifically about NBA games. “If that means not having any people in the audience when the NBA plays, so be it. But as a public health official, anything that has large crowds is something that would [cause] a risk to spread.”

Basketball games are not the only events shutting down, though. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was closed Wednesday after Houston officials declared an emergency. The rodeo was set to run until March 22.

The American Farm Bureau Federation also announced it would cancel this year's Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference that was set to start Friday in Louisville, Ky., "out of an abundance of caution and in the interest and health and well-being of our members, staff, and their families and communities."

Leaders surrounding the annual Ag Day events in Washington, D.C., were expected to make an announcement Thursday as well. Those events are set for March 23-24 in Washington.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission was also planning its open meeting on agricultural issues at the Federal Reserve in Kansas City, Mo., on March 31, the first time the CFTC had scheduled the event out of Washington, DC. The meeting will now happen back at the CFTC's offices in Washington. The CFTC and Kansas State University will also postpone the Agricultural Commodity Futures Conference that was set for April 1-2 in Overland Park, Kan., a suburb of Kansas City.

Alltech also announced its ONE: Alltech Ideas Conference, set for May 17-19 in Louisville, Ky., will now be a "virtual" event that people will watch livestreamed. The Alltech event typically draws roughly 3,500 people to Louisville.

Governors and mayors across the country where clusters have COVID-19 cases have been discovered are now either calling for a cancelation of events or restrictions on the sizes of groups that can gather.

Congress also announced it is now shutting down the U.S. Capitol, House and Senate office buildings, and he Congressional Visitors Center to the public until April 1.

Chris Clayton can be reached at

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