YouTube video

This five-minute video will help kick off the 2013 National Rural Assembly on Monday morning, June 24.

As the dust settles from the unexpected defeat of the farm bill in the House of Representatives, rural leaders from across the United States will be gathering near Washington, D.C., to discuss the future of rural America.

The National Rural Assembly gets underway Sunday evening, June 23, in Bethesda, Maryland. It runs through Wednesday, June 26.

The timing of the conference is fortuitous. Thursday’s House vote shows the old bipartisan consensus around the farm bill is gone. And it’s unclear what will take its place. While the Assembly’s rural policy concerns are bigger than the farm bill, the timing of the conference means participants will have plenty to chew on.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will address the Assembly on Tuesday, June 25, in what should be one of his first public speeches after the House vote. Vilsack has already expressed anger about the House decision.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius will also address the Assembly June 25. She’s expected to talk about the Obama administration’s efforts to implement the Affordable Care Act in rural areas.

Outside these keynote speeches, leaders who are much closer to the ground than the U.S. Cabinet will talk about their priorities for the future: housing, economic development, broadband access, immigration, healthcare and other bread-and-butter rural issues.

Organizers expect about 200 participants – a combination of nonprofit leaders working at local, regional and national levels; rural volunteers and civic leaders; and policy makers from the county courthouse to the White House and Capitol Hill.

Above is the video that will help kick off the conference’s first formal session Monday morning, June 24.

The Daily Yonder will be covering the National Rural Assembly. We’ll have video, links to live streaming of plenary events, stories and photos. Stay tuned. You may join the conversation via the Daily Yonder Facebook page or comments on the Yonder site.

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