Editorial Roundup: Kentucky

Ashland Daily Independent. July 30, 2022.

Editorial: Agri-tech good for economy, planet

Agriculture in the United States is benefiting from technology, and specifically, Kentucky advances in that direction thanks to a grant announced this week by Gov. Andy Beshear.

The University of Pikeville will receive a $4.4 million grant to support construction of an agri-tech research and education center in eastern Kentucky.

The UPIKE Ag-Tech Innovation Center of Excellence will be at the Kentucky Enterprise Industrial Park at Marion Branch in Pikeville, state officials said. The project will be matched with $5.75 million in local funds.

The facility will include a greenhouse, classroom space, laboratory and offices to lead high-tech agriculture research efforts. The research will be aimed at aiding the industry’s continued development and long-term viability while supporting growing worldwide demand for food production.

According to a report by the global management consulting company Bain & Company, the market is predicted to grow to $30 to 35 billion by 2025. Data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, the network called Internet of Things and software as a service are all being used by agri-tech companies to challenge the traditional agricultural economy. These developments can help small farmers understand their crops better and at a smaller scale, as well as conserve resources and reduce environmental impacts.

The grant to UPIKE’s program aims to promote job growth by bringing innovative industry to the area while enhancing educational opportunities for UPIKE students. This is promising news for our local farmers, as they can benefit from discoveries the center yield, making their business more efficient and profitable. We look forward to what the center can accomplish.