FRANKFORT, KY (WOWK) – Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced new developments in the state’s initiative to build America’s AgriTech capital in Kentucky.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020, Beshear signed an international agreement with 16 other partner organizations, including the Dutch government, that are committed to the same goal.
A new AgriTech Advisory Council has been created to guide the focus on this industry to expand the state’s economy and create jobs for Kentuckians. The governor’s office says the council will include leaders in state and local government, education and business and labor sectors. The state has also launched a new website, Kentucky AgriTech.
Multiple delegations of Kentucky representatives have visited the Netherlands to meet with agriculture industry leaders, according to the governor’s office. Top Dutch officials also visited Kentucky to meet with Beshear and higher education and economic development officials.
“We didn’t reach this agreement overnight,” said Beshear. “It is the result of years of preparation and international cooperation, and I couldn’t be more grateful that each of these partners worked together to make it possible. The world is starting to recognize something Kentuckians have seen all along: our Appalachian region’s remarkable promise.”
The international agreement group was brought together by AppHarvest, a corporation creating one of the largest controlled environment agriculture facilities in the world, brought the international agreement group together, according to Beshear’s office.
“This long-term partnership will add jobs and create a new signature industry for our Appalachian region,” said AppHarvest founder and CEO Jonathan Webb. “It also demonstrates the kind of international cooperation that we need more of on the national level.”
The agreement calls for a series of research programs, construction of a center of excellence and building additional private infrastructure similar to AppHarvest’s 2.76 million-square-foot farm that opens this fall in Morehead, Beshear said.
According to the governor’s office, Kentucky’s central geographic location creates an advantage in the indutry. Officials say from Kentucky, AppHarvest’s tomatoes can reach 70% of Americans in a day’s drive, allowing for fresher food and extended shelf life in grocery stores.