FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Building on Kentucky’s iconic agriculture, food and beverage industries, a new entity has been created to cultivate an innovation ecosystem for entrepreneurs and startups across the country. agribusiness sector, in hopes of making the state the nation’s tech capital.
Bluegrass Ag Tech Development Corp. Board of Directors includes representatives from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, City of Lexington, University of Kentucky and Alltech.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said, “When we think of software development, we think of Silicon Valley. When we think of advances in healthcare, we think of Boston. We believe Kentucky can meet the challenges facing our farming communities and become the agricultural hub of technology and innovation in the United States.
Quarles cited Kentucky’s global dominance in the equine industry, expansion of bourbon production, genetic advancements in poultry, and sustainability advances in no-till farming as selling points to attract agribusinesses. . Kentucky offers traditional business incentives from the state, as well as agricultural resources such as funding, networking, and marketing support for startups.
Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton sees this as an opportunity to make the Lexington and Fayette County area a thriving Ag Tech hub, saying her proposed budget includes $1 million to launch the Bluegrass Ag Tech Development Corporation.
“Advancing agricultural technology as an economic development initiative was a major focus of my first term,” she said. “Good, well-paying jobs will come from this public-private partnership.”
Dean Nancy Cox of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment said the effort complements the college’s education, research and outreach missions.
“A vibrant Agricultural Technology Center will provide more opportunities to develop new research collaborations and innovations, while providing more opportunities for UK graduates to stay in Kentucky and work in these new agriculture-based companies. agriculture,” Cox noted. “With a presence in all 120 counties of Kentucky, the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service provides training and technical assistance that helps growers across the state benefit from new agricultural technology innovations.”
Dr. Mark Lyons, President and CEO of Alltech, said, “With the creation of the Bluegrass Ag Tech Development Corporation, we are taking a significant step forward in creating an ecosystem for agriculture.–food innovation that draws on Kentucky’s best attributes.
The board’s next step is to begin the search for a CEO.