The Bio-Belt: Growing the Future in Rural America

Strategic investment in biotechnology now would reinvigorate rural America and help secure our nation’s high-tech competitive advantage
Cow-free burgers are now all the rage — after Beyond Meats’ recent IPO, shares rose 163% on the first day of trading. Shortly afterward, competitor Impossible Foods announced an additional $300M investment.

That’s great for California, but rural America is stuck in a bind. Technology is wiping out traditional jobs, and high-tech training can be hard to come by in towns where livestock outnumber people.

Young Americans know this. According to a recent report from the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, non-metropolitan communities are greying as they attract retirees and lose new members of the labor force. Although rural communities are home to 14 percent of the population, they have seen just 4 percent of the employment growth since 2013.

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