9 new members join the Netherlands-Kentucky partnership between governments, universities and companies that aim to build a thriving agritech ecosystem in Kentucky, United States. This is what Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear officially announced on February 17th. This new addition brings the total of partners in the program to 19.
In good company
The Kentucky Horticulture Council, Kentucky State University, Wageningen University & Research, the Kentucky-based companies AppleAtCha, Kentucky Fresh Harvest and the Dutch companies Arcadis, Delphy, HortiTech and Royal Brinkman will be joining the collaboration. “It is one of our top priorities to increase agritech and agribusiness opportunities throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky – and today we are meeting this goal,” Kentucky Governor Beshear said. “We welcomed nine new partner organizations that are ready to work alongside us to make sure the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the agritech capital in the United States.”
‘Kentucky means business’
Accompanying Gov. Beshear for the announcement, Dutch Consul General Bart Twaalfhoven said the growing partnership indicates Kentucky is serious about growing its agritech base. “The commitment of renowned Dutch organizations like Wageningen University and strong Dutch companies like Arcadis, along with the entrepreneurial spirit of new Kentucky businesses like AppleAtcha and Kentucky Fresh Harvest, sends a clear signal to the rest of the United States and the world: Kentucky means business,” Twaalfhoven said.
Kentucky is home to more than 200 agribusiness-related facilities that employ over 20,000 people statewide. Since the start of the Beshear administration, companies within the sector have announced creation of over 1,200 jobs with $484 million in planned investment.
Agritech capital of the U.S. by 2030
Established in 2020, the agritech collaboration plans to make the region a hub for the sector’s growth using Dutch knowledge, products and services and positions Kentucky as the agritech capital in the U.S. by 2030. The initiative aims to provide fresh, local and affordable food to more people, use fewer land and natural resources and create sustainable skilled jobs within the sector.
Andre Haspels, ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, noted the potential long-term impact of the initiative.
“The Kentucky project aims to improve the local job market and to allow for regional production and distribution of fresh foods in a former coal mining region,” Ambassador Haspels said. “This proposal is key for the development of a sustainable and healthy food production ecosystem in Kentucky, which will also facilitate U.S. and Dutch collaboration among knowledge institutes and businesses. We believe that this proposal will create transformational change in Kentucky’s Appalachian Region.”
A public-private partnership
The agritech partnership includes the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and NLWorks, a public-private network organization initiated by the Dutch ministries of Economic Affairs, Foreign Affairs and the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers.
Existing education partners include the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State University, University of Pikeville, Berea College, and Netherlands-based HAS University of Applied Sciences and Fontys University of Applied Sciences.
Company partners include AppHarvest, which helped spearhead the initiative, and six Dutch companies: Dalsem, Signify, Certhon, Light4Food, Priva and Rijk Zwaan.
For details on the agritech collaboration between Kentucky and the Netherlands, visit LetsGrowTogether.tech.