By Ed Coghlan.

The California Economic Summit has been focusing some of its attention on the economic prospects of rural California.  California has a significant rural landmass—encompassing about 55 percent of our landmass– with a rural population spread throughout many counties. The population is only about 9 percent of the state’s population—so often the needs of those who live in rural California are drowned out by the more populous areas.

At the recent statewide Summit convening in San Diego, conversations about how to create connectivity among rural economic development projects created real excitement.

The president and CEO of the Rural County Representatives of California, Greg Norton, shared his thoughts on the potential of the state’s nascent biomass industry in which forest waste can be turned into nanofiber—and spawn entirely new manufacturing sector. (There will soon be 120 million dead trees in California’s forests!)

West Hills Community College District Chancellor Stu Van Horn shares what his district—which is in California’s agriculture heartland– is doing to address the digital divide that is plaguing much of rural California and hurting economic and educational advancement.

And Glenda Humiston, Vice President of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of California makes the point that what happens in California is important to all Californians—no matter where they live.

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Originally posted at CA Fwd.