Montana State University Extension is hosting the fifth annual Rural Community Conference on the MSU-Bozeman campus May 15-16. The conference will focus on rural development topics and provide an opportunity for citizens, community leaders, nonprofit and governmental groups, and elected and appointed officials to connect with others dedicated to improvements for rural Montana. Scholarships are available to cover registration and lodging.
"The Rural Community conference is a great opportunity for people who live and work in rural communities to network and learn about important issues," said Dan Clark, Director of the MSU Local Government Center. "This conference provides a forum for discussion about key questions regarding natural resource and energy development, population changes, impacts of federal policy, and rural entrepreneurship.”
Three nationally-known keynote speakers will be featured at the conference. Don Macke, Director of Strategic Engagement and Project Director for Hometown Competitiveness at the RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship in Lincoln, Neb., will provide the opening address. Macke will address intergenerational transfer of wealth and apply it to Montana communities. Bruce Nelson, Administrator of the Farm Service Agency, will deliver the May 15 dinner speech. Nelson is the former state executive director for the Montana Farm Service Agency and will share perspectives from Washington, D.C., as well as his hometown of Fort Benton. John Robert Smith, President and CEO of Reconnecting America and former mayor of Meridian, Miss., will close the conference with an address on community revitalization.