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Wisconsin Rural Partners, the state’s Rural Development Council, will hold its annual Wisconsin Rural Summit beginning at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday and at 7:30 a.m. Thursday at the Clarion Hotel and Convention Center, 626 W. Pine St., Baraboo.

The theme of this year’s Summit is the “Future of Rural Wisconsin” and will feature information and discussion on agriculture, health care, housing and infrastructure.

Registration for the two-day event begins at 11:30 a.m. followed by a bus tour of communities and businesses in Sauk County at 12:30 p.m. Attendees will visit Reedsburg, Plain, Spring Green, Sauk Prairie and Baraboo. The tour will conclude with a reception at the Baraboo Arts & Convention Center at 6 p.m.

The second day begins at 7:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast. Opening activities at 8:30 a.m. with welcoming remarks followed by presentations from Frank Frassetto, the new state director for Rural Development for the United States Department of Agriculture, who will speak on federal initiatives, followed by state Rep. Nancy VanderMeer, R-Tomah, then Barb LaMue, vice president for Economic and Community Development for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

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The day continues with a group of expert panelists sharing information about trends, activities and future development for rural areas. The WRP board will also share details of the reorganization of Wisconsin Rural Partners and the future direction of the organization. The day will wrap up by 4 p.m.

The luncheon program will feature “Love Wisconsin: Connecting Wisconsin through Storytelling and Conversation” with co-founders Megan Monday and Jet Waller. They will discuss their “homegrown” statewide storytelling project and share favorite stories. Later, attendees can share their story through a workshop on “Start a Community Conversation.” This small group conversation will explore what is meaningful in rural communities and problems each community is hoping to solve. Attendees will have the opportunity to document their personal story.

Three community development projects will be recognized with the 2018 Top Rural Development Initiatives award.

For a full schedule of events and to register, visit wirural.org or call 608-751-8604.

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