Gov. Andy Beshear highlighted further momentum within Kentucky’s agritech sector as he congratulated 80 Acres Farms on the grand opening of the company’s new vertical farming facility in Boone County, which will create 125 well-paying jobs with an investment of up to $95 million.
“Kentucky’s growth in the agritech sector is a key part of our commonwealth’s surging and versatile economy, which is creating quality job opportunities for all Kentuckians,” Gov. Beshear said. “I had the chance to tour this incredible facility Tuesday, and seeing this project firsthand was impressive. This is a major project for Northern Kentucky, and I am very pleased to see 80 Acres Farms’ facility fully operational.”
Announced in January 2022, the facility is located in an existing 200,000-square-foot building on more than 22 acres, making it the company’s largest and most advanced farm to date. The new facility is three times larger than 80 Acres Farms’ previous largest farm and capable of producing four times more food. The facility has been converted into a vertical farming operation to serve the local market and includes high-tech indoor vertical farm and harvesting, as well as packaging and distribution capabilities. Initially, the operation will grow greens, basil and microgreens with the capability to produce other crops such as berries and tomatoes. The controlled-environment farm will produce tens of millions of servings of local, fresh produce for the surrounding area.
“We’re proud to bring 200,000 square feet of next-generation farming to Boone County,” said 80 Acres Farms CEO and Co-Founder Mike Zelkind. “Kentucky’s leadership in agritech has made this possible, and now, our new neighbors can reap the benefits – from the revitalized building and property to the high-quality farming jobs to the year-round supply of fresh, healthy local produce. We hope this is just the beginning of our collaboration with the commonwealth.”
Founded in 2015, 80 Acres Farms operates indoor farms using 100% renewable energy and without the use of pesticides. The company’s flagship farm, located in Hamilton, Ohio, has the capacity to grow 10 million servings of produce annually. The company currently operates four farms and produces a range of food products, including salad blends, microgreens, tomatoes, basil and recently launched ready-to-eat salad kits. 80 Acres Farms has been a supplier to Kroger since 2019, starting with a single store in downtown Cincinnati and growing to more than 300 stores across Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky in 2021. In August 2023, Kroger announced a plan to increase 80 Acres’ services by supplying nearly 1,000 Kroger stores across the Midwest and Southeast.
Boone County Judge/Executive Gary Moore congratulated 80 Acres Farms on the opening of its new vertical farming facility in Northern Kentucky: “80 Acres Farms is bringing fresh produce grown in Boone County to markets and Kroger stores throughout the Midwest. We are proud to have their second high-tech, vertical indoor farm in Northern Kentucky.”
BE NKY Growth Partnership CEO Lee Crume noted 80 Acres Farms was founded in the Cincinnati region and the Northern Kentucky vertical farm is their newest in the region.
“80 Acres Farms is growing rapidly, and I congratulate its leaders on this important milestone – the opening of this new farm in a repurposed existing building,” said Crume. “Northern Kentucky’s location, infrastructure, and access to college graduates make the region ideal for food and flavoring companies.”
For more information on 80 Acres Farms, visit 80AcresFarms.com.
A detailed community profile for Boone County can be viewed here.
More information on the Governor’s AgriTech Initiative is available at AgriTech.ky.gov.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at CED.ky.gov. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov, Instagram @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.