BOISE, Idaho — J.R. Simplot Co. will continue running its Aberdeen and Nampa potato processing plants, which were scheduled to be closed this spring, through the end of August, company spokesman David Cuoio said.
“We have had stronger product demand than expected,” Cuoio said.
Cuoio said the company still has not decided what it will do with the facilities once they’re shuttered.
Simplot has built a new, 380,000-square-foot plant in Caldwell to replace the two plants, as well as a third outdated Caldwell plant. The old Caldwell plant was closed shortly after the start of this year, when the new plant began operations.
“The new plant is working great, and we’re very pleased with it,” Cuoio said.
Hiring for the new plant is about 90 percent complete. The company will need 300 workers to staff it — 50 more employees than the company’s original estimate when it announced its plans in 2011. The old Caldwell plant, the Nampa plant and the Aberdeen plant had a combined workforce of 800.
Simplot officials said they chose Caldwell for the new plant due to its rail and road access, water, availability of raw potatoes and other inputs, skilled labor force and energy considerations.
— John O’Connell