Kidder County Farmers Union decided to go virtual for its annual meeting this year because of the pandemic, knowing it would have to sacrifice some of the bells and whistles that often draw bigger crowds.

Still, KCFU President Shelly Ziesch was pleased. The convention was held Oct. 15 over Zoom, a widely used video conferencing app.

“It went really well,” she said. “Some expressed concern that we might not have a very good turnout without food and door prizes, but we pretty much had our regular turnout.”

The county stuck to official business, electing officers and delegates to the North Dakota Farmers Union state convention in December in Bismarck.

“That was our plan, even if we did it in person,” Ziesch said.

NDFU Membership Director Jessica Haak said county organizations should assess whether an in-person or virtual meeting is right for them.

“It is up to each county and their leadership how they want to handle their convention,” Haak said. “The county needs to follow ND Smart Restart guidelines when holding an in-person event and, if they are unable to do so, would then consider moving to a virtual convention.”

Ziesch said the virtual meeting wasn’t difficult.

“We asked our (designated NDFU Member Relations Specialist) to help us out, and she messaged everybody the Zoom link,” Ziesch said. “Just had to click on that link and it took you right to the meeting. It was simple and easy. I don’t think anybody had any problem getting on.”

Haak said interested county officers should contact her or their MRS and let them know they want to do a virtual convention. County members can still get a postcard and/or a letter informing them of how to RSVP for the Zoom meeting. Once on the list, the member would receive the Zoom link just prior to the convention.

Ziesch said members shouldn’t let technology scare them away if they’d rather do the meeting virtually.

“Give it a try,” she said. “It’s really not too hard. Rely on your resources like your MRS. They’ll help you through it if you’re concerned.”