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Madison County Chosen As The Second Site For Environmentally Sustainable Greenhouse

Stu Johnson

Agri-tech is visibly growing in central Kentucky. Madison County is the planned future home of a second 60 acre plus greenhouse as part of the AppHarvest company strategy.

It was not a groundbreaking at the rural site off Speedwell Road.  Bulldozers had already scrapped off acres of land over the last couple of weeks.  AppHarvest Founder Jonathan Webb told those gathered in the field, this environmentally focused above ground indoor operation is not a replacement for traditional farming.

“Farming in the U.S. has gotten crushed over the last couple of decades.  No one here is our competition.  We want to figure out how to fight to get farmers back on the shelf with us.  We have a lot of weight and we’re going to throw that around with the big grocers,” said Webb.

Lifetime central Kentucky farmer Evan McCord took in the formal ceremony.  He doesn’t view the AppHarvest initiative to place greenhouses in several spots around Kentucky as competition to his way of farming.  “As much agriculture as we’ve lost in this county, we’ve got to do something to improve it, to bring it back.  Like I said, they’ve got a long road to hoe here to make it.  But I’m encouraged to see them trying something and I hope it works,” noted McCord.

Webb said it’s intentional to locate near universities with hopes of attracting students.  A ribbon cutting this week recognizes a very similar greenhouse near Morehead.  EKU President David McFaddin noted Eastern is ready to join in the effort. “And I promise you from agri-tech to drone support to construction management our team at EKU is gonna make this the best, most productive facility that you guys will have anywhere you go in Kentucky or in the world,” said McFaddin.

Webb noted plans call for the Madison County greenhouse to produce vine crops, whether tomato, cucumber, or pepper.  While not offering a specific timeline for completion, the AppHarvest CEO said the Morehead facility took about a year and a half to build.

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