Gov. Beshear signs agreement, task force created to launch Kentucky AgriTech

Gov. Beshear signs agreement, task force created to launch Kentucky AgriTech
Governor Andy Beshear is moving forward with plan to build America’s AgriTech capital in Kentucky. (Source: Alison Durheim)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KFVS) - Governor Andy Beshear is moving forward with plan to build America’s AgriTech capital in Kentucky.

On Wednesday, June 24, the governor signed an international agreement with 16 other partner organizations, including the Dutch government, that are committed to the same goal. He also established an AgriTech Advisory Council.

International agreement

“In Kentucky, we’re going to reopen and rebuild our economy even stronger than it was before COVID-19,” said Gov. Beshear. “Partnerships like this one highlight our state’s 21st century leadership and limitless potential. I can’t wait to see the AgriTech industry continue to grow in Eastern Kentucky, led by AppHarvest and other companies that are reimagining the future of farming.”

The guiding agreement calls for a series of research programs, construction of a center of excellence and the building of additional private infrastructure similar to AppHarvest’s 2.76 million-square-foot farm that opens this fall in Morehead.

As part of the agreement, the partners also commit to opening a Dutch representative office in Kentucky to spur investment in the state by Dutch companies, which are recognized as the world’s AgriTech leaders.

Over the past two years, multiple delegations of Kentucky representatives have visited the Netherlands to meet with nearly 20 cutting-edge leaders in the agriculture industry. Top Dutch officials also travelled to Kentucky to meet with Gov. Beshear as well as higher education and economic development officials.

“We didn’t reach this agreement overnight,” said Gov. 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.”

Signatories to the agreement include the following:

  • Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature & Food Quality (LNV), Directorate International Affairs
  • Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Office of the Governor
  • Dutch AgriTech companies Dalsem, Signify, Certhon, Light4Food, Priva and Rijk Zwaan
  • The Netherlands’ HAS University of Applied Science and Fontys University of Applied Sciences
  • The University of Kentucky, Morehead State University, University of Pikeville, Eastern Kentucky University and Berea College
  • Dutch public-private network organization NLWorks
  • AppHarvest

Governor’s AgriTech Advisory Council

As part of his continued push to make Kentucky a global leader in the AgriTech industry, Governor Beshear established the Governor’s AgriTech Advisory Council on Wednesday, which he will chair.

The council will include leaders in state government and local government, education and the business and labor sectors in Kentucky. Members will convene periodically to meet with the governor and advise him on matters relating to the AgriTech industry.

“Being the global leader in the AgriTech industry will not only make Kentucky’s farms more productive and efficient, but will also benefit every citizen and every region of the Commonwealth in creating industry and jobs,” Gov. Beshear said in creating the council.

Membership includes:

  • The Governor (chair)
  • Kentucky Agricultural Commissioner
  • Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Agriculture
  • President of the Council on Postsecondary Education
  • Secretary of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet
  • Secretary of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet
  • Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development
  • Secretary of the Energy and Environment Cabinet
  • Two presidents of Kentucky public universities, to be appointed by the Governor
  • One city mayor of a city with a population of 50,000 or more people, to be appointed by the Governor
  • One city mayor of a city with a population of fewer than 50,000 people, to be appointed by the Governor
  • Two County Judge/Executives, to be appointed by the Governor
  • President of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, to be appointed by the Governor
  • Four members representing Kentucky businesses related to agriculture and agriculture technology, to be appointed by the Governor
  • Two members representing Kentucky labor and trade, to be appointed by the Governor

Names of members of the advisory council will be forthcoming.

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