Small Town & Rural Development Conference

Each year, the Michigan Rural Council welcomes regional, national and international speakers and presenters to the Small Town & Rural Development Conference whose expertise and passion make this event the premier conference for rural community development in Michigan. Our annual conference provides an opportunity to share, learn and connect with leaders across Michigan working to support and promote vibrant rural communities. The conference is geared toward those working in and on behalf of small or rural communities in Michigan and is hosted by the Michigan Rural Council.

The 12th annual Michigan Small Town & Rural Development Conference will be April 11-13, 2016 at Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, MI.

The Michigan Rural Council is currently seeking innovative and engaging speakers and presenters for the 2016 Small Town & Rural Development Conference.

The Michigan Rural Council welcomes proposals from regional, statewide, national and international speakers and presenters who wish to bring their expertise and passion to the premier conference for rural community development in Michigan.

The RFP and submission directions can be found here. The deadline for submission is 5:oo PM on Monday, October 12. 



2015 Conference Recap

2015 Archived Conference Materials


Deb Brown


Ken Corey

The conference took place April 13 – 15 at Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville. With excitement, we welcomed our two keynote speakers – Ken Corey, Michigan State University Geography and Urban Planning Professor (Author of A Model for Rural Development: An Experiment from Fogo Island, Newfoundland), and Deb Brown, author of Marketing in a Small Town (check out Deb’s website!). Please follow the links to their pages to learn more about them.

PrintThe Small Town & Rural Development Conference hosts a dinner each year featuring local fare and beer or wine pairings. In 2015, mead and wine from St. Ambrose Cellars, of Beulah, Michigan was paired with delicious gourmet options including pork tenderloin, seared rainbow trout and vegetable paella.

View the photo gallery for the conference on our facebook page.

Please contact Jessica AcMoody at or 517.485.3588 x 1944 with any questions or for more information.

Thank you to our 2015 sponsors!

Supporting Organization:

Consumers                 mshda logo 2014 outline (1)


Conference Supporters:

USDA symbol 2color Hi Res        Print     ORF_Logo_Options_v5     PM_MEDC_LogoV1

Conference Contributors:

GreenStone340K6in       Bank_MED (1)     Logos_FINAL_w TM            Bri_copy             IM  AEP COLOR DTE           PC_Logo_stacked

Updated on September 30, 2015. Need help with membership, training registration, accessing members-only resources, making a payment or editing your profile? Check out our help page.