McConnell and Comer Announce Nearly $1.9 Million for Russell County Agribusiness Training Facility

‘Kentucky is at the center of our nation’s agribusiness innovation’

March 22, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and U.S. Congressman James Comer (KY-01) announced today the Russell County Industrial Development Authority received a $1,854,972 competitive federal grant to build a new agribusiness training facility. The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded funding to support the construction of a 12,815 square foot building with classrooms, a laboratory, a media room, administrative space, and a 1,250 square foot greenhouse. In its first three years, the facility will host classes for an estimated 870 high school and community and technical college students and will serve Adair, Casey, Clinton, Pulaski, Russell and Wayne Counties.

Senator McConnell’s and Congressman Comer’s offices contacted ARC in support of their constituent’s grant application and its mission to strengthen the area’s agricultural economy.

“Kentucky is at the center of our nation’s agribusiness innovation. With this federal investment, a new generation will have the opportunity to become leaders in this growing field,” said Senator McConnell. “It’s a privilege to work with Congressman Comer as we deliver for Southcentral Kentucky students and families. I look forward to students taking the education they receive in this facility to transform the future of Kentucky agriculture.”

“As a career farmer and Kentucky’s former Commissioner of Agriculture, I understand that agriculture education goes hand in hand with workforce development in rural Kentucky. This grant will boost our economy by providing Kentucky students with access to a quality regional training center in Russell County,” said Congressman Comer. “I was proud to work with Senator McConnell and the Russell County Industrial Development Authority to secure this vital federal funding that will enrich the lives of countless students.”

“Agribusiness is a driver of economic growth in Russell County and the surrounding area, and the facility and programs supported by this investment will ensure a ready workforce is available for that growth to continue,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “ARC is proud to work with leaders such as Senator Mitch McConnell and Representative James Comer to support projects like this, that can have significant impact on economic development in Appalachian Kentucky.”

“On behalf of the board of Directors of the Russell County Industrial Development Authority, I would like to express our deep appreciation to Senator Mitch McConnell and Congressman James Comer for their support of grant funds to develop the Lake Cumberland Regional Agriculture Technical Training Facility in Russell County,” said Bennie Garland, Russell County Industrial Development Authority Executive Director. “This facility, which will be under the Russell County Board of Education’s management, will provide the curriculum and instructors to teach high school vocational students agriculture growing and management techniques. Students attending this facility will come from surrounding counties to learn new state of the art technologies that ensure they will have the technical skills to enter into employment fields of animal and plant food production. With the recent developments that are now currently ongoing in Appalachia Kentucky by AppHarvest to build multimillion dollars greenhouses, this training facility will produce a well-trained and qualified workforce.”