Tuesday marked the first meeting of the Kentucky AgriTech Advisory Council working toward the goal of helping the state position itself as a global leader in the agritech industry. The group was formed following an announcement about an effort to bring high-tech agriculture to eastern Kentucky earlier this year.
That agreement included a dozen partners and had the stated goal making eastern Kentucky a hub of the agritech, or high-tech agriculture, industry. The deal intends to increase agriculture jobs in that region of the state including positions with AppHarvest who’s massive green house is currently under construction in Morehead.
The plan calls for agriculture research programs, the construction of a center of excellence and the building of additional private infrastructure similar to AppHarvest’s 2.76 million-square-foot farm that will open later this year. The agreement also included a commitment to opening a Dutch representative office in Kentucky to increase investment in the state from Dutch companies.
Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts, a member of the task force took part in Tuesday’s meeting.
“We are excited about the opportunity to participate in the newly-created AgriTech Advisory Council. Agriculture is vital to Kentucky’s economy and we look forward to building from our state’s strong foundation in this sector and making Kentucky a leader in the AgriTech industry,” Watts said.
Membership of the task force 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