Greg Canfield

The growth potential of Alabama’s rural communities is reflected in several game-changing economic development projects launched over the past year, with significant investments announced across a range of industries and locations.

While some people may not realize it, Alabama’s rural counties are home to high-performing companies from around the world in sectors such as automotive, forest products and aerospace.

Just days ago, Packaging Corp. of America (PCA) announced plans to invest $440 million in its mill in rural Clarke County, positioning the Jackson facility for the long-term production of linerboard used in corrugated packages.

This underscores the fact that Alabama’s 40 “targeted counties” host high-profile companies with major operations that serve as bedrocks in their communities. Many of these companies found their way to rural Alabama from across the globe, with the 40 counties attracting nearly $1.5 billion in foreign direct investment between 2015 and 2019.

While we know that rural Alabama is a great place for doing business, we’ve set out to elevate awareness of its advantages. With that in mind, we launched “RurAL,” a digital campaign that adds a new dimension to our long-running “Made in Alabama” brand that highlights our economic development successes.

RurAL aims to help corporate decision-makers and site selection consultants all over the world understand – and unlock – the growth potential of Alabama’s rural communities. Truth is, it’s a great story to tell.

Greg Canfield is Alabama’s secretary of commerce.

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