Kentucky commits to building America’s AgTech capital

Could the agriculture technology capital of the U.S. be in Appalachia?

One Kentucky company has announced an international public-private partnership to create research programs and infrastructure in Morehead to make it the country’s AgriTech industry leader.

AppHarvest, which is building one of the world’s largest controlled environment agriculture facilities, has partnered with the governments of the Netherlands and Kentucky as well as universities, private companies and organizations to commit to this massive investment in Kentucky. The long-term partnership couple add 30,000 jobs and create a new multi-billion-dollar signature industry in Appalachia.

Kentucky’s central geographic location allows many advantages for AppHarvest to grow more food with less waste. Supply chain issues during COVID-19 further accented the critical need for investment in the Commonwealth’s food systems. Partners in the Netherlands realized this importance after World War II as the country endured crippling shortages spurring leaders to create what is now the world’s second-largest agricultural export industry. While the Netherlands is less than one-third the size of Kentucky, Dutch technology allows farmers to grow up to 30 times more fruits and vegetables on a single acre indoors compared to a single-acre outdoors.

This new agreement is the culmination of more than two years of work between Kentucky and Dutch representatives. Gov. Andy Beshear announced a new website,, to develop this and other initiatives devoted to Kentucky’s agritech industry. Growth programs include loan programs, project specific grants, tax credits, seed capital, matching state funds and export support.

— Rachel Nix

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