Published online: Aug 14, 2013 Potato Storage, Potato Harvesting Sean Ellis, Capital Press
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BURLEY, Idaho-McCain Foods' Aug. 7 announcement that it will invest more than $100 million to expand its Burley potato processing plant was exciting news to Idaho potato growers.
"It's extremely good news and it bodes well for the Northwest, especially Idaho," said American Falls potato grower Klaren Koompin. "This McCain announcement is a big deal for us."
The expansion will add a third production line at the southwest Idaho facility, which makes frozen potato products for the foodservice industry and restaurant chains. For some industry leaders, the announcement was confirmation of anticipated but still great news.
"We've heard rumors about it for a year," said American Falls grower Jim Tiede. "I think that's great news that they are going to expand in Idaho. That's wonderful news for the state."
ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston is the major player in the potato processing business in the Pacific Northwest, followed by J.R. Simplot Co., and McCain produces about half the amount those two companies do in the region, Koompin said.
"This new expansion is going to increase their footprint here in Idaho," he said. "It re-solidifies our position as the highest quantity and highest quality supplier of potatoes in the world."