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home : news : news August 2, 2014

8/8/2013 11:06:00 AM
BioEnterprise, I95 Rural Economic Development Summit planned

Agriculture and forestry together represent the top revenue-generating industry in South Carolina. Corn, cotton, tobacco, and soybean have historically been the top-producing revenue crops in the state, with the Pee Dee and other regions on the Coastal Plain considered the bread basket for production. New agribusinesses and bioenterprises are needed to boost the rural economies of South Carolina.  The I95 Corridor, which runs through the heart of the Coastal Plain, is considered an area of great need due to its high poverty rates, poor quality of education, and high unemployment. To address these problems, coordinated efforts are needed to attract new industries to the I95 Corridor, especially those associated with agriculture and forestry; the traditional backbone of most rural economies. Many agencies and organizations in South Carolina are interested in seeing the I95 Corridor improve and attract new agribusiness and bioenterprises. But a limitation to progress has been identifying the first step(s) towards recruiting new industries.  Better communication and coordination amongst interested organizations is the first step. To help facilitate the communication process, Clemson University, Francis Marion University, and Florence-Darlington Technical College will host a free, two-day Summit on Sept, 19 and 20, centered on BioEnterprises and Rural Economic Development along the I95 Corridor. The Summit will be sponsored by a federal grant obtained from the National Institute for Food and Agriculture. The Summit will focus on potential new industries to the region as well as the success stories of existing industries along the Corridor. Topics for presentation at the Summit will include an overview of research breakthroughs in renewable energy, alternative uses for plant biomass, the role of algae in liquid fuel production, the growing demand for aviation fuel made from woody and crop biomass, growth in renewable energy on the world market, adding value-added traits to biomass through biotechnology, the competing wood markets in the Southeast, and much more. On a more local basis, success stories and future growth of Coastal Plain agribusinesses will be presented by industry leaders.  The Summit will be held at the The Pee Dee Research & Education Center. It is free and open to everyone on a first to register basis. Information about the Summit, including the agenda, registration instructions, becoming an exhibitor, and directions, can be found at www.scbioenterprises.com.


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