ConAgra Foods, Inc., will invest an estimated $200 million to expand its Lamb Weston frozen potato facility in Boardman, Oregon, with plans to create 100 jobs.
Construction of the 192,000 square foot, state-of-the-art addition is expected to begin early 2013 with completion planned in 2014. The firm said its strategic investment will add a new line to the plant that will increase capacity for producing french fries and other frozen potato products.
As consumer demand for frozen potato products continues to grow both domestically and internationally, this significant capacity increase is needed to fulfill Lamb Weston's customer growth projections, particularly the dynamic growth expected from international markets, a Conagra spokesman said.
"Our need to expand is a testament to our strong customer partnerships, our great-tasting french fries, and the outstanding work our employees do every day to create food people love," said Rick Martin, vice president, Global Operations, ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston. "This expansion also reflects our confidence in the region's growers to deliver high-quality potatoes while working with state and local government to ensure long-term, sustainable growing practices. We specifically appreciate the efforts and support of the Columbia River Enterprise Zone, Port of Morrow, city of Boardman, Morrow County and the state of Oregon and are proud to be an active part of this thriving community."
"We're thrilled Lamb Weston has reaffirmed its commitment to Boardman and the entire Columbia River Basin," said Gary Neal, general manager, Port of Morrow. "As Lamb Weston realized, Boardman is an ideal place to expand as its business and employees continue to thrive here." With easy access to the Port of Morrow, the Boardman facility is strategically situated to support both domestic and international growth plans of Lamb Weston customers. Proximity to prime growing and shipping operations also helps reduce transportation needs, supporting Lamb Weston's efforts to shrink its carbon footprint.
"We are excited about Lamb Weston's commitment to expand its operations in the Columbia Basin," said Tim McCabe, director, Business Oregon. "We look forward to working in the near future with the Port of Morrow, city of Boardman and Morrow County as a partner to assist Lamb Weston's growth and ensure they remain a major employer in the area for years to come." Being located in an Enterprise Zone gives the firm access to tax credits.
ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston is one of the largest employers in the Columbia River Basin, an area known for growing potatoes and other vegetables. The company operates seven facilities in the region employing nearly 4,500 people, including 500 employees in Boardman and 500 in Hermiston, Oregon.