Posted by: FBRuralDevelopment | 10/26/2011

2012 National Value Added Ag/Rural Communities Conference

The Michigan State University Product Center and American Farm Bureau have joined forces to co-host the 14th National Value Added Ag Conference.  A Rural Communities focus will be added to the conference to emphasize the importance of rural economic development in building vibrant rural communities in today’s economy.

 This national conference will be attended by Extension educators, community development practitioners, academic researchers specializing in rural economic development, and Farm Bureau leaders with a stake in the success of rural communities. Both Farm Bureau staff and Farm Bureau members will benefit from attending. Ag producers who attend will come home with new models of successful rural development initiatives for their own communities. State Farm Bureau staff who participate will have direct access to the latest information from researchers who have studied rural development strategies and how to best modify them to fit local assets and resources. They will also have opportunity for substantive discussions with community development practitioners from their state to discover how they can collaborate on local efforts.

 The Conference will be held on June 24th through 26th at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Traverse City, Michigan, in the heart of cherry country, along the sandy shores of Lake Michigan.  Midwest Living magazine recently placed Traverse City second on its list of the region’s best food towns, home to an increasingly varied and sophisticated culinary culture with a strong emphasis on local ingredients.

 Conference participants will have the opportunity to interact with innovative business owners from throughout Michigan to discuss rural entrepreneurship, adding value to agricultural products, agritourism, and community development. The Conference will include breakout sessions and tours to allow maximum interaction between participants and practitioners.

Agenda details are being developed but participants should plan to arrive by Sunday, June 24th for an evening reception.   The agenda will include a keynote speaker, breakout sessions and tours of local entrepreneurial businesses.  Conference registration will be $150, which covers meals and tours. The conference will conclude the afternoon of June 26th.  Travelers can connect to the area through the Traverse City Cherry Capitol Airport.

Agendas for past conferences in 20092006 and 2005 are still available online. 

 For more information, contact Sabrina Matteson at

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