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Conference to focus on rural job improvement

April 14, 2009

Economic times like these can be devastating for rural and agricultural cooperatives, organizations and communities. To help navigate through these times, the Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus is hosting the “New Directions for Rural Businesses” conference April 16, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The free conference will emphasize new strategies for cooperatives, opportunities, leadership and risk management that will help agricultural and rural organizations develop programs through improved skills, directions and technology applications.

The leading speakers for the conference include LeAnn Oliver, deputy administrator for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Cooperatives and Rural Development Programs; Gary Mack, USDA Rural Development; and Don Butler, director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture.

Additional speakers will highlight Hispanic and Native American community cooperative formation, international trade opportunities and financial controls, as well as address new federal resources. The conference is funded by a grant from the Rural Business and Cooperative Service, USDA.

“The new federal stimulus funding has substantial allocations for rural development, educational initiatives and incentives for reducing unemployment,” said Eric Thor, coordinator of the conference and professor in the Morrison School. “These items will be discussed in this conference through panel presentations and direct person to person informal meetings.”

The conference is open to all who are interested and will be held at the ASU Polytechnic Union Annex main ballroom.

For further information and registration, contact Philip Stiles at or (480) 727-1517.


Chris Lambrakis,
(480) 727-1173
Public Affairs at ASU Polytechnic campus