WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. — It’s described as the future of agriculture in Kentucky and a way to support our next generation of farmers.
James Kay is the Woodford County Judge-Executive and a member of Gov. Andy Beshear's newly formed AgriTech Task Force. So what is Agritech?
"Agritech is basically the convergence of technology in agriculture to create a new industry or an emerging industry, rather, where basically we can start advancing agriculture through technology."
Kentucky is uniquely positioned to embrace and deliver on the use of technology in agriculture. The Agritech industry not only can make Kentucky’s farms more productive and efficient, but it can also benefit every citizen and every region of the commonwealth by creating new industries and jobs.
Kay says, "Technology is advancing at such a rapid pace and we need to make sure that it's reaching the farm, that the same advantages business is taking with technology, we need farmers to be able to take those same advantages. So, whether it's increasing your yield in a crop to make more money, to make the acre more productive for the farmer, then that's what we need to do."
At Eckert’s Orchards and Farm in Woodford County, some technology aspects are already in use. The ability to grow its technology through the Agritech program would allow this farm to better manage their crops and service their customers.
The farm's general manager Megan Fields says, "That really excites us here at Eckert's because we're the ones that provide the food for families here in Kentucky. And so for the Governor to get behind us and be willing to support us in that so we can grow our businesses by using technology, it's just a great move for our state and for businesses like ours."
Creating the farms of the future will be no easy task. Beshear's task force of industry leaders will help to find ways to make technology available rural farms in hopes of pushing the state toward becoming an Agritech Capital.
Fields added, "Whether you're growing fruit, or do livestock, or grow vegetables, or tobacco, technology is very important to all of us."
Many believe that Kentucky's is uniquely positioned to offer an environment that can attract, develop, and sustain Agritech-related enterprises.
Kay is excited to see what the future of agritech brings to Kentucky. "I think if you're going to have a modern agriculture economy, it has to be connected to Agritech, that's the way everything's going and I think we're in a good spot to do it."