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By: Kelly Rowe |
October 20, 2022
The University of Pikeville has been awarded a $1.5 million grant by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for its Ag-Tech Innovation Center of Excellence Project. This award is part of a recently announced nearly $47 million package supporting 52 projects in 181 coal-impacted counties through ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative.
It is projected that ARC’s investments have helped create or retain more than 39,600 jobs and prepare more than 100,000 workers and students for new opportunities in entrepreneurship, broadband, tourism and other growing industries.
“This grant from ARC comes at a critical juncture in this project as we move from vision and planning into being close to commencing construction,” said David Hutchens, UPIKE vice president for advancement and alumni relations. “UPIKE is grateful for the investment of these funds for the creation of a research center for high-tech agriculture. This project will indeed help directly and indirectly create jobs, enhance the research capabilities of the university and affect the curriculum offered. UPIKE is also appreciative and excited to partner with the City of Pikeville on this important project.”
UPIKE’s Ag-Tech Innovation Center of Excellence, once completed, will include a greenhouse, classroom space, laboratory and offices. The facility will be located off U.S. Highway 23 in the Kentucky Enterprise Industrial Park where it will lead high-tech agriculture research efforts that aid the industry’s continued development and long-term viability while supporting increasing worldwide demand for food production. In addition, the project will make contributions in entrepreneurship and business development strategies for Eastern Kentucky and Central Appalachia.
“UPIKE’s Ag-Tech Innovation Center will focus on seed development, environmental conservation practices and controlled-environment farming,” said UPIKE President Burton Webb, Ph.D. “Over the next three years, it is our hope that the project will help create 250 jobs and three new businesses. An additional $4.4 million in funding is provided by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.”