Extra, extra: All under one roof! (Editorial)

Those major winter crop production meetings for farmers, like old gray mares, ain’t what they used to be.
Two decades ago, organizers could expect 1,000 to 1,500 producers, ag business sales reps, Extension staffers, and a scattering of industry leaders to be on hand.
Remember New Jersey Vegetable Growers Association gatherings those many years ago?
Recall all those once-famed and now-defunct regional no-till meetings across the Delaware Bay on Delmarva through the 1980s>
As victims of the Information Age and other factors well beyond their control, attendance gradually shrunk until organizers either called it quits or sought a new approach.
The Vegetable Growers chose the latter and coming up is the association’s latest effort.
It’s a merger — two for the price of one: Buy one, get one free.
Two of New Jersey agriculture’s most influential annual gatherings are joining forces for the first time this week to create a formidable showcase of the Garden State’s agrarian advances.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture and the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey have “co-located” their respective conventions to form a massive convention/trade show.
While both groups will conduct separate respective programs, the convention programs will offer attendees a greater choice of educational programs, a wider range of discussion topics and an enlarged trade show.
The event is slated for the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City starting on Jan. 17.
The VGA convention will kick off the proceedings on Tuesday, Jan. 17, and run through Wednesday, Jan. 18.
The state ag convention will begin on the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 18 and run through the afternoon of Jan. 19.
It’s a bold idea.
And we applaud it, particularly the concept of talking the nuts and bolts of production in concert with the policy considerations designed to shape the course of the industry as a whole in the year to come, and then allowing both audiences to come face to face with a trade show.
If the merger idea works — and we believe it will — it could provide the model for bigger and better winter meeting showcases in the future.