Beshear announces agreement to promote farm tech in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Gov. Andy Beshear on Wednesday announced an international agreement with the Dutch government and other international partners to promote farm technology in Kentucky.

The agreement was initiated by AppHarvest and involves other companies that Beshear said are “reimagining the future of farming." It follows up on a campaign pledge the Democratic governor made last year to promote high-tech farming in the Bluegrass State.

The partnership establishes an advisory council and launches a series of research programs, construction of “a center of excellence” and the building of additional private infrastructure similar to an AppHarvest farm set to open this fall in Morehead.

“COVID-19 has driven home how critical it is that we have a stable food supply, (that) we have it here in the United States,” Beshear said.

Over the past two years, Kentucky has sent delegations to the Netherlands to study advanced farming techniques practiced there. The agreement calls for establishing a “Dutch representative office" in Kentucky to encourage investment in local projects and create new job opportunities.

Around two-fifths of Kentucky’s workforce has filed for unemployment benefits for the first time over the past 12 weeks, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor.