100 participants from Mexico, Turkey, Russia, the Middle East/North Africa (MENA), and South Asia regions attended the USSEC Soybean Processing and Refining Virtual Conference, a roundtable meeting held on July 8, 2020. Participants were from the key crushers and vegetable oil refineries.
During the webinar, participants listened to presentations, including Last Improvements in Seed Preparation Plant; The Minimum Residual Oil is the Right Choice; Oil Contamination - Rising Issues; Processing Oil; High Performance Neutralization; and Deodorizer Efficiency and the Importance of Measurement.
Speakers included Steve Reinhard, director, Ohio, United Soybean Board (USB); Anibal Demarco, crushing product specialist - global technical support, Desmet Ballestra; Alan Paine, vegetable oil refining expert; Brent German, soy processing consultant, Blind Corner Solutions; and Brent Babb, Regional Director – Europe/MENA, USSEC.
“It was a pleasure to participate as a speaker in the virtual conference,” said Demarco. “It was clear to see the interest of the participants as questions arose in the chat during the conference.”
“The virtual conference was well-attended by people from across the entire MENA region,” German continued. “The presentations went well and generated several questions for the presenters. Using recorded presentations allowed the presenters to respond in real-time via the chat function which seemed well-received.”
“All the talks were pre-recorded which meant that the presenters were able to answer questions in the chat box, as the presentations were in progress, keeping them busy throughout. The chat posted during the meeting was equivalent to around 20 or 30 minutes of spoken questions and answers,” stated Paine. “In addition, the Zoom platform allowed individuals to pass private messages to each other discussing technical matters or to interact socially. Over 100 people took part in the meeting spanning nearly half the globe from the Americas, through Europe, North Africa and Asia and taking in a wide range of time zones. Most of the participants are probably looking forward to being able to meet in person again and with any luck this will be possible again soon. The success of the event shows that although an online meeting cannot fully replace getting together physically, it can be a very useful part of the way in which we interact both now during the coronavirus crisis and afterwards.”