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Iowa Rural Summit Postponed Until August
Iowa Ag Connection - 03/23/2020

The Iowa Rural Development Council (IRDC) executive committee is pushing back its 4th annual Iowa Rural Summit until August in accordance with recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control for large-group gatherings.

The Summit, originally set for April 29-May 1 at the Hotel Kirkwood in Cedar Rapids will instead be held Aug. 19-21. The Hotel Kirkwood, on the campus of Kirkwood Community College, will again host the convening. Last year's gathering of leaders from rural communities from across the state drew a crowd of almost 400 to the Hotel Grinnell.

Although the original dates do not fall within the requirements of the state of public health disaster declared this week by Governor Kim Reynolds, Council leaders felt the timing of the original Summit dates -- falling within the eight-week timeframe identified by CDC -- had the potential to put attendees at risk.

"The CDC has made it clear that large gatherings of this sort should not occur as we deal with containing the COVID-19 virus," said IRDC Chair Sandy Ehrig. "Our original dates fell within the CDC's eight-week window -- although outside of those set in Governor Reynolds' state of public health disaster emergency declaration. We just felt we should push the Summit back to a later time and we're pleased the Hotel Kirkwood could accommodate that change."

The Summit is an annual gathering of rural leaders and representatives, sponsored by the IRDC, a public-private state non-profit that works to support small towns addressing issues such as housing, broadband access, business development and leadership.

As has been the case with the previous three Summits, communities will be asked to bring a three-person team since that approach has helped generate consensus and momentum for those places that were represented.

"Communities can still register their three-person team," said Ehrig. "But anyone who has registered already and is unable to attend due to the date change can request a refund. The Summit will, as originally planned, feature issues ranging from community visioning to encouraging ag tech to accessing new funding programs. Our break-out session tracks are Facilities and Projects, Critical Issues and Facing the Future -- and the content will be of use to anyone who lives in rural Iowa. In addition, the issue of pandemic response and responding to small business in times of an emergency will also be discussed."

The cost to register a three-person team is $210 and can be done at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/kirkwood-iowa-rural-development-summit-communities-registration-93323983547.

For more information, contact director@iowardc.org.

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