J.R. Simplot Plans to Build State-of-the-Art Processing Plant

Published in the May 2012 Issue Published online: Jan 17, 2012
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BOISE, Idaho-The J.R. Simplot Company plans to build a state-of-the-art potato processing plant in Caldwell, Idaho, with site preparation anticipated to begin next May and start-up expected by spring of 2014.

The 380,000-square-foot plant, which will be built on the site of the Company's original processing plant in Caldwell, will help Simplot remain competitive in the food industry while providing significant environmental benefits, according to company president and CEO Bill Whitacre.

Simplot is not divulging the cost of the new facility, but Whitacre said it will be the largest single investment the company has ever made in Idaho.

The new plant will replace the company's existing potato processing plant in Caldwell, Idaho, with additional closures in the next two to three years of facilities at Aberdeen and Nampa, Idaho, resulting in the loss of just under 800 jobs.

Most of the job losses will not occur until the closure of the three existing plants.

According to Mark McKellar, Simplot Food Group president, the new plant will be far more efficient than the plants slated for closure. It also will produce a smaller carbon footprint, use considerably less water and be more energy-efficient.

The company began operations at the Aberdeen plant in 1973 and acquired the Nampa plant from Nestle in 2000. J.R. Simplot began dehydrating operations on the Caldwell site in 1941 and subsequently converted the facility to process frozen potatoes in the early 1950s.