Before COVID hit, the MWCA was in the midst of a strategic planning, restructuring process. It was a major undertaking for the Association with the end objective to make us serve our membership better and be more relevant in coming decades.
Our MWCA Implementation Working Group continued on into the spring and early summer with planning and strategizing.
When it became apparent that COVID was not going away in 2020, MWCA had to cancel both the fall weed manager meeting and the September board retreat.
In addition to that, the board made the difficult decision to go virtual with our annual conference for the first time in the history of the MWCA.
We will be holding a virtual, two-day conference January 26 & 27. Registration is now open at www.mtweed.org.
There is still a great deal of planning that needs to take place, however, we do know we will be charging greatly reduced registration rates for both attendees and vendors, we have a virtual platform we are excited to use and our planning group is working super hard to make this a fun, interactive and informative virtual conference.
We also intend to try to keep as many “extras” in this conference as well including sponsor give-aways, awards, networking sessions and more interactive activities.
We are also working with the Department of Agriculture in both Montana and Wyoming to establish ways to earn re-certification credits.
In addition to the annual conference, MWCA will be holding a series of professional development webinars over the winter called “Weedie Wednesday’s”.
Topics have been set as the following:
MWCA working for you….
1. Diagnosing herbicide injury
2. Palmer Amaranth & Water Hemp and EDRR
3. Herbicide resistance, the latest research
4. IWM and production systems
5.Noncompliance – what works, what doesn’t
6. Choosing specific species for seeding in certain locations and/or working with organic producers
We are working on obtaining our speakers, establishing the best platforms, working on MDA recertification credits and setting final dates for these informative webinars. Please stay tuned for more information.
In some good news for the Association, we were able to secure state COVID funding to help us financially this year.
We received a little over $30,000 to be used specifically for the impacts that COVID has had on our organization. Because of the lack of trainings in 2020 and the technology needs for MWCA, we have begun to purchase equipment to help us with better technology, we’ve secured Whova for our annual conference software platform and we may use some of the funding for staffing costs.
The kicker is that all funds have to be expended by December 31, 2020, so we are working to get funding needs identified, equipment ordered and plans made very quickly.
Maybe it has been quiet on the MWCA front, but please know we are working to be able to provide you with trainings and services in early 2021 the best ways we can.
It is safe to say that all of us are missing each other’s faces and that social interaction we all look forward to in January at the conference.
We can only hope that come spring, we are back to our east and west weed manager trainings and planning for the in-person meetings that spur so much innovation and comradery in the industry!