FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX 56) – Gov. Andy Beshear announced a $74 million investment in Kentucky’s agritech sector, according to a news release.

80 Acres Farms, based in Ohio, is moving forward with plans to bring a new vertical farming facility to Boone County.

“Agritech growth is a major part of our effort to create a sustainable economy that works for all Kentuckians, and I am very pleased to welcome 80 Acres Farms to the commonwealth,” Beshear said. “These well-paying jobs will create quality opportunities for our workforce. I want to thank the company’s leaders for locating in Kentucky and I can’t wait to see the facility up and running this year.”

The new vertical farming facility will move into an already existing 200,000 square foot building that sits on over 22 acres of land. Operations are expected to begin in the third quarter of 2022 and will include a high-tech indoor vertical farm along with harvesting and distributing various foods. Once the facility is up and running, the farm will produce millions of servings of fresh produce for the surrounding area.

“Opening a farm in Boone County will allow us to grow closer to our retail partners in Lexington and Louisville and introduce our fresh, healthy, locally grown produce to many more Kentuckians,” said 80 Acres CEO Mike Zelkind. “We’re always looking for ways to increase our impact, and this farm is the biggest step forward for us yet, more than doubling our total production and growing our footprint outside Ohio.”

Boone County Judge/Executive Gary Moore expressed his excitement about the new vertical farming facility in northern Kentucky.

“80 Acres is on an impressive growth trajectory, and we are thrilled to have their first location in Kentucky in Boone County,” Moore said. “We welcome the 125 new, high-paying agribusiness jobs and the first high-tech, vertical indoor farm in Northern Kentucky.”

With the addition of 80 Acres, Kentucky continues to build on its momentum in agritech investment. As it stands, the agritech industry employs over 52,000 people and has over 350 facilities. From the over $1.8 billion in new investments, the agritech industry is expected to create more than 2,600 full-time jobs.

Northern Kentucky Tri-ED CEO, Lee Crume, loves the economic impacts this will bring to the area.

“80 Acres is leveraging its science and technology to grow its products and scale its supply chain with much success,” said Crume. “A lot of collaboration with Duke Energy, Boone County and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development brought this project to fruition. I’m excited to buy 80 Acres’ Kentucky-grown produce at my local Kroger.”

The planned investment and job creation continue to build on the recent economic momentum Kentucky is experiencing. In 2021, Kentucky shattered every economic development record in the books. On the backs of a record-setting budget surplus in 2021, Kentucky saw a 9.4% increase of incentivized hourly wages for statewide projects.