MOREHEAD, Ky. (WYMT/WKYT) - Sunday's episode of '60 Minutes' featured a familiar company - Eastern Kentucky's AppHarvest, a high-tech agriculture company - and a familiar face.
AppHarvest was originally going to base its operations out of Pike County, but now they plan to be based near Morehead.
The episode aired Sunday at 7 p.m. on WYMT. Reporters spent a week in Eastern Kentucky to learn about the company as part of a segment on Revolution's Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, which invested in AppHarvest.
The fund is intended to encourage venture capital investment in middle America.
"75 percent of venture capital money went to three states: California, New York, and Massachusetts… Most of the venture capital is on the coasts not in the middle of the country and we just have to change that," says AOL co-founder and billionaire investor Steve Case. "[Middle Americans] have been forgotten… they have been left behind," he says. "Most people are not paying attention to them… Most people on the coasts don't think there's anything interesting, innovative happening in the middle of the country."
AppHarvest's goal is to build an AgTech ecosystem in Eastern Kentucky. It started an agricultural entrepreneurs program at Shelby Valley High School in Pike County and plans to work with the University of Pikeville as well. The "60 Minutes" crew filmed Ramel leading the high school class.
This company will change the way we grow food here in America.
The company is taking a successful agriculture model in the Netherlands... and seeing what that could mean for Appalachian communities in Eastern Kentucky," said Jonathan Webb, the company's president and CEO.
The company is taking a successful agriculture model in the Netherlands and seeing what that could mean for Appalachian communities in Eastern Kentucky.
"We could fit the entire country of the Netherlands inside of Eastern Kentucky in landmass. The Netherlands has the second most agricultural exports in the world, only behind the U.S.," said Webb.
Greenhouses are what is behind the Netherlands' success.
"They're growing indoors, using artificial lighting to maximize yields, while also putting the water directly to the roots of the plants," said Webb.
AppHarvest is building a similar greenhouse in Morehead.
"We're positioning the eastern part of our state to be the AgTech of America," said Webb.
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