State Support, Skilled Workforce, Quality Potatoes: McCain Foods’ Burley Facility Announces $200M expansion and addition of 180 jobs

 

It was a huge economic win for Idaho sealed by teamwork at its finest.

McCain Foods, USA announced this month a substantial expansion to their potato processing plant in Burley, Idaho to the tune of $200 million and 180 new jobs. Doug Manning, the Economic Development Director in Burley, attributes the expansion to a community and state committed to a company that has been an economic staple in Idaho. Manning found his passion in economic development after witnessing an out-migration of young people in the Burley area during his time as Burley mayor in the late 90’s. In his current role, he is instrumental in brokering economic deals for the community he was raised in. Manning has been an important player in bringing more trade jobs to Cassia county and decreasing the unemployment rate to an impressive 2.6 percent.

But, Manning recognizes expansions like the one recently announced by McCain Foods are not attributable to one person or entity, but rather to a state-wide, long-term investment in a company. McCain’s Burley plant has been operating in since 1960 when it was opened by Ore-Ida and subsequently acquired by HJ Heinz. McCain Foods, USA acquired the plant in 1997. Since then, the location has grown to be the crux of Cassia County’s workforce, with an average of 530 employees working at the facility at one time. That number is now expected to grow to exceed 700.

According to Manning, McCain’s decision to put down roots in Idaho and grow in the state has been a joint effort on the part of the company’s leadership and collaboration between local and state officials, associations and the company. The potential for an expansion has been in discussion for about two years.

In December, Idaho Commerce approved McCain’s application for the largest-ever tax reimbursement incentive in the state. McCain will qualify for the incentive at 30 percent, which is expected to pay out $5.86 million over the next 15 years. As a result of the expansion, the state’s GDP is expected to increase by an estimated $560 million and an additional 360 induced jobs are expected to be created.

“This truly is a grand slam project for Idaho’s economy and one of the most prominent employers in the state,” said Megan Ronk, director of Idaho Commerce. “To have an existing Idaho company leverage the Tax Reimbursement Incentive to add more jobs, more state revenue, and more capital investment to the state is the best case scenario and we are thrilled it is finally coming to fruition.”

McCain is the largest manufacturer of frozen potato products in the world, supplying to thousands of restaurants and supermarkets across the globe. With the recently announced expansion, their potato production capacity throughout the state is expected to increase by 15,000 acres per year.

McCain has seen an increasing demand for their potato products globally over the last several years, and as McCain identified the need to expand in North America, the Burley location emerged as the leader. According to North America Regional President Jeff DeLapp, the differentiators for Burley were attributed to proximity to quality potatoes, availability of skilled workforce and the state level support. McCain expects to begin construction immediately and anticipates completion of the additional infrastructure in summer 2018.

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