Contributed photo 

Judge Executive Reagan Taylor stands on the future grounds of the site located on Speedwell Road. 

AppHarvest announced it has started construction on a second high-tech controlled environment agriculture facility located in Madison County.

The farm, when complete, will exceed 60 acres.

The indoor facility will grow non-GMO, chemical pesticide-free fruits and vegetables to be distributed to U.S. grocers and restaurants.

Because of the company’s strategic location in Appalachia, AppHarvest can reach nearly 70% of Americans in just a day’s drive, reducing transportation costs by up to 80% compared to existing growers in Mexico and the Southwestern U.S.

Located on nearly 250 acres, the facility will double AppHarvest's growing space in Central Appalachia. AppHarvest will open its flagship farm a 2.76-million-square-foot facility growing tomatoes this month in nearby Morehead.

These two facilities will play a major role in AppHarvests efforts to establish itself as the leader in America’s AgTech space.

“This purchase brings us one step closer to our goal of establishing America's next AgTech hub from right here in Appalachia,” said AppHarvest Founder and CEO Jonathan Webb.

According to officials with AppHarvest, the company’s greenhouses are designed to reduce water usage in growing by 90% compared to traditional open-field agriculture due to unique irrigation systems connected with large-scale rainwater retention ponds. The system is designed to eliminate harmful agricultural runoff, which contributes to toxic algae blooms.

In just over two years, AppHarvest has attracted more than $150 million in investment into Central Appalachia and announced on September 29 a definitive agreement for a business combination with publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company Novus Capital Corporation (Nasdaq: NOVS).

The combination, which is expected to close late in the fourth quarter of 2020 or early in the first quarter of 2021, will provide $475 million of gross proceeds to the company, including $375 million fully committed common stock PIPE at $10.00 per share anchored by existing and new investors including Fidelity Management & Research Company, LLC, Inclusive Capital, and Novus Capital Corporation.

AppHarvest’s investors include Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Inclusive Capital Partners, Equilibrium, Narya Capital, Lupa Systems, Breyer Capital, and Endeavor Catalyst. Endeavor selected AppHarvest Founder and CEO Jonathan Webb as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in 2019.

Board members include food icon Martha Stewart, Narya Capital Co-Founder and Partner JD Vance, Impossible Foods Chief Financial Officer David Lee, and impact investor Jeff Ubben.

Madison County Judge Executive Reagan Taylor stated, "It is an exciting day for Madison County. Over the past two years, the Madison County and AppHarvest teams have been focused on finding economic development opportunities that capitalize on our combination of hard-working people, central location, and agricultural history. Today is the result of that hard work and we couldn't be happier.”

As well, Eastern Kentucky University President David McFaddin said he is excited for the opportunity to help students.  

“We are excited to welcome AppHarvest to our community. The work in AgTech they are doing in Eastern Kentucky has generated excitement among our community schools and citizens. I look forward to forging partnerships with AppHarvest that will provide new outlets for our students to gain hands-on experience with the latest techniques in farming.”

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