BURLEY — McCain Foods has broken ground on the $200 million expansion it says will bring 180 jobs to its Burley plant.
At a ceremony earlier this month, Idaho Director of Labor Melinda Smyser said the state has committed $2.5 million in workforce training funds for the company’s expansion. The training will help employees learn skills to operate the new and highly technical food processing equipment.
The 259,000 square-foot facility is expected to begin production in fall of 2018, helping to meet the growing demand for frozen potato products.
“McCain Foods is one of Idaho’s largest and most community minded companies,” Smyser said. “For the Burley area, this $200 million expansion means 180 good-paying permanent positions, several hundred short-term construction jobs and 15,000 acres of increased opportunities for local potato farmers.”
The expansion was initially announced in May. Also attending the ceremony were Lt. Gov. Brad Little, Idaho Director of Commerce Megan Ronk, Idaho Director of Agriculture Celia Gould, Idaho Speaker of the House Scott Bedke, Burley Mayor Merlin Smedley, Idaho Commerce Grants and Contracts Manager Cindy Lee and Idaho Commerce Business Attraction Manager Susie Davidson.
“This facility has been a part of the Burley community since the 1960’s and we are pleased to celebrate our opportunity for growth within this community,” said Jeff DeLapp, president of McCain North America. “The Burley location offers availability of skilled workforce and allows for close proximity to quality potatoes to supply the expanded production line.”
Smyser also said McCain Foods positively impacts the workforce, industry and communities where its plants are located. The company received the Business of the Year award from the National Association of State Workforce Agencies at its national conference in October in Coeur d’Alene.
The Burley plant expansion follows two similar projects at McCain Foods in Canada this year. In July, the company said it would expand production capacity by 15 percent at its french fry manufacturing plant in Coaldale, Alberta. It opened a $65 million potato specialty production line at its flagship facility in Florenceville-Bristol, New Brunswick, in October.
McCain Foods USA is the American division of McCain Foods Limited, which employs more than 20,000 people and operates 53 production facilities on six continents. McCain is the world’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato specialties and also produces products such as appetizers, vegetables and desserts.
The company has 11 production facilities and approximately 3,800 employees in the U.S.