- Bluegrass AgTech Development Corp introduces a new incentive program to attract agtech and food-based businesses to Kentucky.
- The program aims to make Kentucky an international hub for agricultural technology.
- Grants up to $100,000 are available for eligible businesses, with a focus on startups and early-stage companies.
- A partnership including the City of Lexington, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, University of Kentucky, and Alltech supports the initiative.
- The program targets five key areas: mid-size farming solutions, sustainable food systems, nutrition-focused food, future-proof animal protein, and leveraging Kentucky’s traditional sectors.
A Strategic Move to Boost Agtech in Kentucky
The Bluegrass AgTech Development Corp’s new incentive program is a strategic initiative to position Kentucky as a leading destination for agtech and food-based businesses. Mayor Linda Gorton emphasizes the goal of becoming the “international address of agtech businesses,” leveraging the expertise within the Bluegrass AgTech partnership.
Collaborative Efforts for Agricultural Innovation
This initiative is collaborative among key stakeholders, including the City of Lexington, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, and Alltech. Dr. Nancy Cox from the University of Kentucky highlights the role of research innovation in advancing Kentucky’s agricultural and food sectors.
Grant Program and Support for Entrepreneurs
The challenge grant program offers up to $100,000 in funding for eligible businesses and resource support like mentorship, professional service referrals, and connections to local growers and research teams. Bob Helton, executive director of Bluegrass AgTech, notes the importance of adding more partners to grow the program.
Criteria and Application Process
Applicants must provide a 100% match and be registered, for-profit businesses based in or willing to establish a presence in Lexington or Kentucky. The focus is on startups and early-stage businesses, with applications due by March 1, 2024.
State and Local Support
Lexington contributed $1 million to establish the grants, matched by another $1 million from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund. This financial support underscores the state’s commitment to fostering a robust agtech ecosystem.
Addressing Key Agricultural Challenges
The program targets five critical areas: solutions for mid-size farming, sustainable food systems, food as health, future-proof animal protein, and leveraging Kentucky’s equine, food, and beverage expertise. These focus areas align with Kentucky’s strengths and the global challenges in agriculture.