TWIN FALLS • Glanbia Foods, headquartered in Twin Falls, has announced a major expansion to its manufacturing and production plants here and in Gooding, projecting an $82 million investment and about 50 new jobs over the next two years.
Glanbia will invest in manufacturing processes to meet the growing demand for high-quality whey products. In addition, Glanbia will pay for a 30-megawatt energy substation on Glanbia land at the Gooding County plant, Chief Financial Officer Daragh Maccabee said Thursday.
The new facilities are expected to be fully operational by 2016.
“These projects are all about adding value to the whey stream both in Twin Falls and in Gooding,” Maccabee said.
Glanbia’s decision was finalized after the economic advisory council of the Idaho Department of Commerce approved a 23 percent reimbursement incentive Thursday on payroll and state income taxes.
“That still means the state will get 77 percent of payroll taxes and income taxes,” Maccabee said.
“It was the final domino to fall into place,” said Jan Rogers, executive director of the Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization.
The state tax incentive will amount to a tax break worth about $1.25 million over 10 years.
Gooding County commissioners sweetened the pot, too, approving a tax exemption on the capital investment. The county incentive equates to $1.5 million to $2 million over five years on property tax abatement, Maccabee said.
“The important thing for Gooding County is that it is not money that currently exists. It is incremental value forgone for a period,” he said. After five years, Glanbia will pay property taxes.
The Twin Falls plant will get $17 million worth of improvements, including an expansion and lactoferrin production equipment that the Gooding facility already has.
“We are replicating that capability in Twin Falls and hope to move forward quickly with that,” Maccabee said.
Lactoferrin is a tinymicroprotein. “It’s very small volume in the milk, almost indetectable,” he said. It takes “a lot of investment, technology and equipment” to harvest.
The Gooding County plant will expand whey protein production to include whey protein isolate (WPI).
“WPI has high-protein content that is used in applications such as sports nutrition,” Maccabee said.
Some companies sell the protein for $300 a kilo, so the changes could prove quite lucrative for Glanbia.
Freeze-drying capabilities also will be increased at the Gooding plant to handle lactoferrin produced in Twin Falls.
About 40 jobs will be created in Gooding County and about 10 in Twin Falls over two years, Maccabee said.
“There will be a lot of activity happening, particularly in the Gooding site, as well as some in Twin Falls,” he said.
In Twin Falls, the expansion will be very visible when two silos are built.
Glanbia Foods is the eighth company to use the tax reimbursement incentive since the Legislature passed the program and it took effect July 1, said Megan Ronk, chief operations officer of the Idaho Department of Commerce.
Glanbia processes more than 12 million pounds of milk a day — one-third of all milk in Idaho. During its 25 years in southern Idaho, the company has grown significantly, with its total workforce in Idaho projected to exceed 800 for the first time in 2015.
“The entire southern Idaho region celebrates this announcement today, along with the addition of more than 40 good-paying jobs,” Rogers said. “This represents Glanbia’s continued investment in dairy production, blending and manufacturing capabilities as well as an investment in our quality workforce.”