Following a $50,000 Gem Grant, the City of Heyburn was able to upgrade the sewer line at their industrial park, allowing the city to retain Worldwide Dehydrated Foods, a subsidiary of the Mart Group, one of the most sophisticated fresh packed potato suppliers in the United States.

Mart Group is an Idaho company owned and operated by a number of family farming operations located in Southern Idaho, primarily in Minidoka County. The company recently purchased an old potato dehydrator plant at the Burley-Heyburn Industrial Park. However, the property they purchased did not have the wastewater infrastructure to support the plant.

Through a Gem Grant, the City of Heyburn was able to improve that wastewater infrastructure, something that Senator Kelly Anthon, city administrator for the City of Rupert, helped to facilitate.

The Gem Grant is available to local governments of rural communities with populations of 10,000 or less and can be leveraged to plan and implement projects that create and retain jobs.

An image inside Mart Produce's facility.
Photo Courtesy: Mart Group

“When a business approaches a small town like that and the wastewater system needs to be upgraded, it is very difficult to afford it,” Anthon said. “So, the impact of that $50,000 in public infrastructure is amazing. It really does go to show why the Gem Grant can have a huge impact on a rural Idaho economy.”

Not only did the sewer line retain Worldwide Dehydrated Foods, it also will lead to the creation of over 40 new jobs, efficiencies inside the City of Heyburn wastewater system, ancillary jobs with local suppliers and contractors and will allow Worldwide Dehydrated Foods to create about 15 million pounds of dehydrated potatoes per year.

“Idaho is a great place to do business,” Anthon said. “The Gem Grant Program is a reflection of that. For rural community leaders who think they cannot participate in growing their local economy, the Gem Grant program says otherwise. The Gem Grant program gives you an opportunity to receive funding for public infrastructure that can change your whole community.”

Learn more about the Gem Grant here.

Posted in Commerce, Communities, Success Story