A coalition of businesses, knowledge institutes, and government from the Netherlands and Kentucky signed a collaboration agreement today to launch the creation of a controlled-environment AgTech ecosystem in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

The Netherlands is the global leader in sustainable greenhouse technology and AgTech expertise. Dutch innovation in agriculture has made a country smaller than Kentucky into the second largest agricultural exporter in the world, trailing only the United States.

This agreement aims to leverage Dutch knowledge and technology to turn Kentucky into the AgTech capital of the United States. Kentucky has many of the attributes needed for a strong controlled-environment AgTech sector, with a large labor force, ample land and water, and its convenient location within an eight-hour-drive of 70 percent of the American population.

The establishment of a successful controlled-environment AgTech ecosystem in Kentucky will support good permanent jobs, generate shared prosperity, improve food security, and shrink the carbon footprint of American food.

Seven companies, seven knowledge institutes, and the government of Kentucky and the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality are parties to the collaboration agreement. Their shared goal is to create a thriving AgTech sector in Kentucky, from building greenhouses and setting up local training infrastructure to cultivating retail partnerships and attracting financing.

Additionally, the academic collaboration will pursue shared lines of research and develop vocational curriculums to support the sector. It is estimated that the controlled-environment vegetable market in the US could be worth billions in the near future, supporting tens of thousands of jobs and representing a key market for Dutch technology.

Ambassador André Haspels: “During the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in the Netherlands last year, Carola Schouten, our Minister for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, announced the first deal between AppHarvest and Dutch greenhouse constructor Dalsem for a 60-acre facility. It will feature innovative technologies that will limit its carbon footprint, as well as its use of water and pesticides. Since then, many other parties have come on board, improving access to fresh food, and creating jobs. I am honored to see the profound impact that Dutch innovation can have in all corners of the world.”

Governor Andy Brashear: “Partnerships like this one highlight our state’s 21st century leadership and limitless potential. I can’t wait to see the AgriTech industry continue to grow in Eastern Kentucky, led by AppHarvest and other companies that are reimagining the future of farming.”