We've often said that "technology" and "agriculture" are actually natural allies. Today, the technology required to be competitive in agribusiness pretty sophisticated and some of the very best high tech opportunities can be found in this market. Yet there seems to be little movement to cross that apparent divide.
In Sunday's Statesman: http://www.idahostatesman.com/
Yes - there is a bit of a cultural divide between rural and urban. There's also a gap between the "come here" in-migrants and "been here" natives. I've been horrified to heart the contempt expressed toward rural Idaho and its values. (And the fear that some rural people understandably feel toward what they see as arrogant newcomers who think they are smarter & better than the "hicks".)
Yet - there is so much common ground. During all the planning, etc. for ESTech, it's become painfully obvious that one area that most people seem to agree on is that Idaho ought to become more entrepreneurial. It's more than "mom & apple pie", it actually works. (See my prior blog post for the stats.)
Probably understandable given my biases but growing a more entrepreneurial Idaho is absolutely the key to moving everyone forward, rural or urban, tech or ag.
We need each other: Economic activity in metro & nonmetro counties are correlated reciprocally.
We also want each other: Plenty of "tech" firms in nonmetro counties here, same for gazelles. [In fact, southern Idaho had the highest % of gazelles!]
Idaho has tremendous entrepreneurial potential -across the state. We have the expertise to nurture a more entrepreneurial Idaho & it doesn't even cost much.
But are we taking advantage? Maybe not yet, but I see lots of hints that we may be moving forward and soon.
P.S. Let me plug Idaho's first-of-its-kind online high school entrepreneurship class ** offered via Idaho Digital Learning Academy - costs school districts nada. The class starts again Jan 16, so if you know any HS seniors who are entrepreneurial (or should be, LOL) get thee to www.idahodigitallearning.org - now!
Thoughts? (and think entrepreneurship!)
** btw, this course would not have happened without the Idaho *Rural* Partnership (whose exec dir, Shelby Kerns, authored the Statesman piece.