b'PANDEMICYear inCANADA RECENTLY MARKED a morbid anniversary now that COVID-19 is officially one year old in the country. The global pandemic still rages on and, with little sign of stopping, a return (Lockdown)to life as everyone once knew it, remains elusive. N95, social distancing and vaccines were no doubt Googled more than ever in 2020. In Alberta, the pandemic took hold in earnest by mid-March Review of last year. Shortly after, grocery store queues stressed supply chains to their absolute limits. Farmers became nervous, wondering what coronavirus meant for their livelihood. However, agriculture was quickly deemed an essential service by provincial and federal governments just prior to seeding, so the show continued. Pandemic largely unfelt in Alberta fields,While Alberta farmers have different levels of personal but farmer meetings and human contactcomfort about the virus, one thing is clearfarming still happened, and the year generally turned out well from a noticeably absent. business perspective.They ended up harvesting a very large crop, in some cases, record yields, Tom Steve, general manager of the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions, says. For the most part, it was a normal production year.Steve says his staff were inspired by farmers commitment during COVID-19 and were extra attentive to their needs, providing them the knowledge they needed on several topics, both agronomic and policy-related.The joint commissions began to produce in-the-field webinars hosted by their agronomist Jeremy Boychyn and uploaded them to their YouTube page. The webinars range in topics from in-field nitrogen applications to plant growth regulators, Fusarium head blight and post-herbicide weed scouting. From Steves perspective, technology has been the great equalizer throughout this pandemic.Its become a dominant part of our lives as a communications tool and I dont think that will change, he explains. Those (webinars) were well-attended because farmers were missing field days and the interaction.The pandemic has gone in waves of case-load severity. During a calm period, the commissions hosted two in-person eventsLacombe Field Day in late July and the two-day Wheatstalk event in Fairview in early August. In both settings, attendees were separated into small cohorts to take in the agronomic education. The Lacombe event, often attended by 100-plus people, was a similar success and Steve says he was proud to be able to pull that one off.He says whenever Alberta gets beyond the pandemic, there will be a return to in-person events. In late November the commissions decided to cancel the annual in-person Prairie Cereals Summit in Banff, fromDec. 9 to 11, as daily COVID-19 8seed.ab.ca'