Large agriculture conference switching Dakotas next year

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — The Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society is moving its winter conference from South Dakota to North Dakota next year.

The annual event, which also draws people from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Canada, has outgrown the Aberdeen hotel where it’s been held for the past six years, the Aberdeen American News reported . It will be held in Fargo, North Dakota, in 2019.

This year’s event, which was held late last month, drew about 580 people and 55 vendors, according to Jill Wald, a coordinator for the nonprofit, which promotes sustainable food systems.

The group’s office manager, Susan Long, said that organizers had issues with dining, vendor and workshop space. Long also said that the distance from Aberdeen’s hotels to the convention center wasn’t ideal. Many attendees had to drive across town this year for hotel rooms due to overflow, which was difficult for those traveling with children.

The Aberdeen Convention and Visitors Bureau unsuccessfully tried to keep the conference in the city, according to executive director Casey Weismantel. He said the conference brings in about $140,000 for the city with the number of attendees this year.

“I’d love to think Aberdeen was part of (the conference’s) growth,” Weismantel said.

Prior to 2013, the conference was held in Fargo and Bismarck, North Dakota.

Long said the deciding factor was that Fargo’s Holiday Inn would allow the group to bring its own organic and locally grown food, which is central to the nonprofit’s mission.

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com

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