Murdoch Jr ploughs into green farming company AppHarvest

James Murdoch ploughs into green farming company AppHarvest

  • The start-up AppHarvest is building the world’s largest greenhouse in Kentucky 
  • It says the 2.76million sq ft American greenhouse can reduce water use by 90%

He quit his father’s media empire after criticising its coverage of climate change. Now James Murdoch – youngest son of tycoon Rupert – is among a group of investors who have ploughed almost £22million into sustainable American agriculture firm AppHarvest.

The start-up is building the world’s largest greenhouse and hopes to open the huge indoor farm in Kentucky in the autumn.

It says the 2.76million sq ft greenhouse can reduce water usage by 90 per cent. The funding will be used to hire workers and the firm hopes to have 300 staff by the launch.

Growing business: James Murdoch, with wife Kathryn, is backing indoor farms

Murdoch Jnr invested in AppHarvest through his investment firm Lupa Systems, which he launched last year to back start-ups.

He stepped down last year as the chief executive of 21st Century Fox following its takeover by Disney. He used the estimated $2billion (£1.5billion) he made from the deal to launch Lupa, where he is chief executive.

Last week, he quit the board of News Corp, which owns newspaper titles in the UK including The Times and The Sun, citing ‘disagreements over editorial content’.

He and his wife Kathryn criticised News Corp and Fox News for their coverage of the Australian bushfires earlier this year, expressing frustration over the ‘ongoing denial’ of climate change.

Murdoch-owned titles account for about 70 per cent of newspaper circulation in Australia.