Syngenta Flowers, Sakata Cancel 2020 CAST Exhibits
Syngenta Flowers and Sakata Seed America have officially announced the decision to cancel participation in the horticulture industry’s California Spring Trials (CAST) event due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus.
According to a statement from Scott Valentine, head of Syngenta Flowers, NA, “We feel it is in the best interest of our employees, our customers, and their families to limit exposure and reduce overall risk associated with COVID-19. We apologize for any inconvenience this will cause customers and visitors to this annual event.”
On March 10, 2020, Santa Clara County issued a legal order banning mass gatherings through the rest of March. Syngenta’s North American Flowers headquarters and R&D facility are based in the southern part of the county and will remain operational but closed to external visitors until further notice.
Joe Cimino, head of the Sakata Ornamentals group stated, “Although Monterey County, where our Salinas greenhouses and event site are located, has yet to put such an order in effect, this is a precautionary measure with our guests and their families at the forefront of our minds.
“We do not take this decision lightly; great effort is put into this event and we look forward to connecting with our industry partners and showcasing our genetics year after year. However, it’s important that we err on the side of caution at this time rather than risk the health of our staff, dependents, customers and their families.”
Although Sakata will not be hosting guests at CAST, they have other ideas in mind. According to Alicia Suits, Sakata’s senior marketing manager, “We will still showcase our products to the industry and all registered attendees. Be on the lookout for future communication in lieu of a physical event.”
In lieu of a full-scale event, Syngenta’s marketing and sales teams are also hard at work organizing an alternative to the CAST event, which will showcase new varieties and core assortment of innovative genetics, according to Valentine.
“We are continuing to capture photos, videos and will host a series of online events,” he said.