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Tennessee’s Rural Development Task Force is bringing economic development to the state, while also helping rural communities thrive and grow.

Made up of more than 20 officials and agencies, the task force identifies, designs and applies innovative ways to address key issues impacting rural life. Leaders and partners across the state are making a positive impact, bringing together stakeholders who can make a difference.

Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd, who co-chairs the task force, says now is the best time in Tennessee’s history, on many fronts, for economic development.

“The state is booming and having all kinds of success, but on the other hand, we’re not sharing that success equally,” he says. “We have many parts of our state that are suffering. We realized they don’t have the resources and need additional help.”

Task force co-chair, Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson says, “We want to help ag industries expand. The biggest part of growth can come from the expansion of existing businesses.”

Johnson says Gov. Bill Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative, with its mission for 55 percent of Tennesseans to have educational degrees or certificates beyond high school by 2025, plays a critical role.

“We want to demonstrate to businesses and industries we are trying to attract to our state that we have an educated and ready workforce,” he says.

From a tourism standpoint, Tennessee Tourist Development Commissioner Kevin Triplett says there is untapped potential to bring tourism to rural areas. He also co-chairs the task force.


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