An indoor farming company plans to invest $44 million to grow produce on the site of a reclaimed mine in eastern Kentucky.

Hydroponic Farms USA says it will bring 121 jobs to the region, which has seen rising unemployment with the decline of eastern Kentucky’s coal industry.

Hydroponic Farms USA spokesman Trevor Terry said investors chose to build on the site of a former mine in Breathitt County for two reasons. First, the large, flat space the former mine provided was the perfect for a large indoor growing operation.

Second, Terry said investors made it part of their mission to bring prosperity back to an economically depressed region.

“Somebody said to me the other day that eastern Kentucky kept the lights on for a long time and now they are going to feed the world and I think that’s a fantastic way of looking at it,” he said.

The indoor farming company plans to build a 42-acre facility that will use hydroponic and aeroponic technology to grow leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers and other produce, Terry said.

Gov. Matt Bevin said the move is “wonderful news for eastern Kentucky.”

“We are truly grateful for this vote of confidence in the commonwealth,” he said. “Hydroponic Farms USA will be a great fit for the Jackson community, and continues the economic momentum that is building in eastern Kentucky.”

The farm will be second of its kind in Kentucky for Oz Agribusiness Projects and Investments Ltd., who formed a partnership with Green Ag Technologies LLC to manage and operate the facility.

Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter.