Agriculture Economy

An eastern Kentucky agritech company that is cutting the ribbon this week on a massive greenhouse in Morehead is also announcing construction of another large-scale greenhouse in the region. 

AppHarvest said in a release Tuesday that the second large-scale greenhouse will exceed more than 60 acres when completed in Madison County, south of Lexington. The company states the greenhouse would double AppHarvest’s growing space for fruits and vegetables, to go along with the company’s freshly-minted 2.76 million-square-foot greenhouse in Morehead.

“We are excited to welcome AppHarvest to our community. The work in AgTech they are doing in Eastern Kentucky has generated excitement among our community schools and citizens,” Eastern Kentucky University President David McFaddin said in a statement. “I look forward to forging partnerships with AppHarvest that will provide new outlets for our students to gain hands-on experience with the latest techniques in farming.”

The company is hosting investor and author J.D. Vance, Congressman Hal Rogers, and Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft at its ribbon-cutting Wednesday for its first large-scale greenhouse in Morehead. In an interview with the Ohio Valley ReSource last month, AppHarvest CEO Jonathan Webb said the company is trying to push for innovation in agritech while working with regional partners to bring more agriculture investment in the region. 

“Its rapid innovation, rapid change, and we must stay out front and we must be a part of the change. With that being said, yes, I believe AppHarvest can be one small player in a bigger picture,” Webb said. “If we can all align and work together, then yes, we’re going to all collectively attract a lot of capital in the region. And we’ll see a much better tomorrow than we can imagine, but it’s going to be hard work. And it’s going to take a decade or two, two decades to see the reality.”

While many see the potential for AppHarvest to inspire others in the region, some are wary about how the company will fulfill its economic potential. The company has attracted more than $150 million dollars of investment in a little over two years.