News Rural Alabama Experiencing Strong Economic Development 

Rural Alabama Experiencing Strong Economic Development 

Rural Alabama Experiencing Strong Economic Development 
June 12, 2023 |

By Tanner Hood

Alabama farmers living in rural communities could soon feel the impacts of strong economic development throughout the state. The Alabama Department of Commerce released a report June 1 stating corporate investments into rural communities in 2022 topped almost $1.8 billion, creating 1,900 jobs.

Gov. Kay Ivey touted the importance of new development in rural communities, noting how companies around the world see Alabama as a prime location for conducting business.  

“There are several high-impact growth projects underway across Alabama, bringing in significant new investment and triggering the creation of thousands of jobs,” Ivey said. “This is wonderful news for rural communities including Courtland, Selma, Ozark, Fayette and Geneva, among others.” 

The 2022 Rural Economic Development Impact Report consists of data from 40 targeted counties with fewer than 50,000 residents. In total, there are 43 new growth projects across rural counties. Since 1987, the Alabama Enterprise Zone Act has provided tax incentives to companies that invest in rural communities. 

A map of targeted counties from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield hailed the benefits of investing in rural communities.

“(Rural) areas offer plenty of advantages including motivated workforces, training programs, a low-cost environment and much more,” Canfield said. “The state’s rural communities are ripe for growth, and we will continue to work to ensure they are able to compete for — and win —high-impact growth projects that make a real difference.”

Canfield said rural Alabama received $4 billion in investments and 5,500 anticipated jobs since 2020 as companies increasingly chose fewer urban destinations.  

During the 2023 legislative session, Alabama lawmakers passed a series of bills known as “The Game Plan” to renew and strengthen economic development incentives. 

Alabama Farmers Federation State Legislative Programs Director Russ Durrance praised Ivey, Canfield and the Legislature for promoting rural communities in current and future economic plans. 

“As rural Alabama goes, so goes the state,” Durrance said. “We share the commitment of state leaders to provide opportunities for our rural residents. We should encourage people in these communities to remain or return after obtaining further education or training, while also attracting new residents. Most rural counties are suffering a talent drain as populations decrease. Economic development in rural areas is essential to reverse this devastating trend as Alabama seeks to keep our state’s best and brightest.” 

Durrance said corporate investments into rural counties can lead to improved infrastructure, better schools and more job opportunities for recent graduates. Population increases could also provide farms and other businesses more employees and customers. 

The Federation, the states’ largest farm organization with 355,000 members in all 67 counties, supports efforts to promote economic development in rural communities. 

Click here to view the report.

View Related Articles