FAQs for U.S. Grains Council’s Virtual Summer Meeting – July 2020
As of June 4, 2020
Why is the meeting going to be held virtually rather than in-person?
Based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, the city of Madison and the host hotel, meetings of our size are not possible at this time. The guidelines for social distancing required for a scaled-down meeting would inhibit our work.
When is the virtual meeting?
The 60th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting will still take place July 27 to 29, 2020, with sessions of about four hours per day (in two-hour blocks), each day, in addition to A-Team and sector meetings. Details will be available in the coming weeks.
Why is the meeting not postponed until a later date?
As most Council members are aware, our meeting is scheduled to precede harvest dates and to avoid conflict with our sister organizations’ meetings. Delaying the conference would reduce attendance and cause scheduling conflicts for many in our membership. Additionally, the Council’s annual business meeting includes a review of our financials and approval of the next year’s operating budget, as well as election of the 2020-2021 Board of Directors – important pieces of business for our organization.
Will we need to register?
Yes, we are still asking everyone to register who is going to attend the meeting. The virtual platform is linked to individual attendees’ e-mail addresses, so each person wanting to attend events, comment, etc. needs to be in the Pathable system to get a log-in link attached to their name.
How do I register?
Registration will be open at www.grains.org as of June 12. The process will be similar to at past meetings.
What virtual platform will you be using? Zoom?
We will be using the virtual platform Pathable. This service offers a private website to which each attendee will receive an individualized link for participation for all events. Through this platform, meeting registrants will be able to view and join sessions, ask questions via the chat box and more.
How will the virtual platform work?
Each day of the meeting, you will log in with your direct link. From there, you will be able to see the agenda and the beginning of each session you can join. This is also how you will join A-Team and sector meetings.
What will I need to attend virtually?
You will need a computer, laptop or tablet (such as an iPad). While using a cell phone with the system is possible, it will likely not transmit properly at times of low signal.
Will I need a computer with a camera? I do not have one.
No, that is not required. For the general sessions, all cameras and microphones will be turned off for those not speaking. For A-Team meetings, everyone will be on mute unless speaking, and use of the camera feature will be optional.
If I do not sit on an A-Team, will I still be able to join different A-Teams meetings like I do when we are in person?
Yes. The A-Teams meetings will be designed that you can join whichever session you would like to. They will each have their own agendas and will proceed with their presentations. If you choose to, you can leave one A-Team and go and join another. Everyone will be muted upon entering except for the presenters; however, you will be able to unmute yourself if you have a question.
If I have a question to the speakers during the general sessions, how do I ask it?
There will be a chat function during the sessions in which you can submit a question (or chat with other attendees). Someone will be monitoring the chat box and ask the questions for you to the speakers.
If I have technical problems with the site, is there someone I can contact?
Yes, the platform will have a technical assistance number, and Council staff will be available to help troubleshoot.
Will the presentations be recorded? Can I view everything at a later date?
Yes, we will record presentations.
My time on an A-Team is expiring this year. If we do not meet in person, does this mean my term is extended?
No. A-Team terms are still two years. The current term expires at the end of the meeting, with new terms beginning Aug. 6.
How will elections take place?
Elections will take place over the course of the meeting using ElectionBuddy, the same system used recently for the bylaws amendment vote. Those running for Board of Directors seats will pre-record their speeches to be put up on the platform for everyone to watch.
How does ElectionBuddy work again?
All voting delegates will receive an e-mail from email@example.com to the e-mail address on file with the Council. Each link is unique; it cannot be forwarded and opened. Each link is also only for the vote in question. If you can’t find the email, be sure you are checking the -email address on file with the Council and also check in your junk or spam folder. We will have a help line and resources available to assist you with locating your ballot and voting during the virtual meeting.
Is the February meeting going to be in person, virtual or a mix of both?
The Council plans to proceed with an in-person meeting in Savannah, Georgia, from Feb. 1-3, 2021, unless something develops to prevent it. Of course, we will meet in accordance with CDC and local guidelines at that time, and our international staff members will travel to join us as they are able based on their local guidance. In the coming months, we will look into options to livestream sessions for those still unable or uncomfortable with travel.
Who do I contact if I have another question?
Please be in touch with Rebecca Kane, USGC meetings manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more about the meeting as it develops, please visit www.grains.org/event