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Rural Community Conference is May 15-16

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MSU News Service

BOZEMAN – Montana State University Extension is hosting the fifth annual Rural Community Conference May 15-16 on the MSU campus in Bozeman.

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 and preference is given to those who register by April 3.

“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,” said Dan Clark, Director of the MSU Local Government Center. “Each collaborator will leave with a greater awareness of the changing landscape of rural Montana and be equipped with new ideas and tactics to address changes in their communities.”

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 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 from 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.

A panel featuring representatives from USDA Rural Development, American Farm Bureau, the Montana Economic Developers Association, and the Energy Promotion and Development Division of the Montana Department of Commerce will take place the morning of May 16.

For more information or to register, visit

Megan Paulson is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Outlaw Partners.

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