- Leadership Appointment: Bob Helton has been appointed as the executive director of Bluegrass AgTech Development Corp.
- Partnership Foundation: The organization is a result of a partnership among the City of Lexington, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the University of Kentucky, and Alltech.
- Innovation Ecosystem: Bluegrass AgTech aims to cultivate an innovation ecosystem for agtech entrepreneurs and startups.
- Economic and Technological Growth: The initiative seeks to transform Kentucky into a major hub for high-tech innovation in agriculture.
- Upcoming Initiatives: Bluegrass AgTech will introduce a challenge grant program to attract agtech and food-based businesses to Kentucky.
A Collaborative Effort for AgTech Advancement
In a significant move to bolster agricultural technology (agtech) development, Bob Helton has been named the executive director of the newly formed Bluegrass AgTech Development Corp. This organization is set to play a pivotal role in cultivating an innovation ecosystem for entrepreneurs and startups in the agricultural sector.
Partnership for Progress
The inception of Bluegrass AgTech is the result of a collaborative effort among the City of Lexington, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, and Alltech. Mayor Linda Gorton emphasized the partnership’s focus on attracting agtech companies to Lexington and Kentucky. She highlighted the region’s potential to become a major hub for high-tech innovation in agriculture, attracting good jobs and new companies to the city.
Vision for a Sustainable Future
Bluegrass AgTech’s mission extends beyond mere technological advancement. It aims to connect Kentucky’s agricultural innovators with public and private funding sources and incentives. This strategic move is expected to transform Kentucky into the agtech capital of the United States, yielding new agri-food and agri-business companies. The broader vision encompasses boosting the economy and unlocking a more affordable, nutritious, and environmentally sustainable food future for Kentucky and beyond.
Leadership and Experience
Helton, the newly appointed executive director, brings over four decades of experience in business development and management, along with extensive involvement in economic development. His agricultural background, rooted in his upbringing on a farm in eastern Kentucky, complements his professional expertise. Helton holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Morehead State University and has advanced training in various fields, including sales/marketing, strategic planning, and business management. His former role as the chair of the Kentucky Association of Economic Developers further underscores his suitability for this new position.
Future Initiatives and Launch Event
Looking ahead, Bluegrass AgTech is gearing up to introduce its challenge grant program. This initiative aims to attract agtech and food-based businesses to Kentucky by offering incentive funding, valuable resources, and promotional opportunities. The details of this program will be unveiled during the organization’s launch event and news conference, scheduled for 1 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 15, at Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company, 401 Cross St.
Image provided by the city of Lexington