Governor Brad Little and other Idaho officials are in Europe this week to foster economic relations with business leaders who have investment interests in Idaho. A visit to the Netherlands is part of an effort to bring new industry to the state.
When McCain Foods — the largest producer of frozen potato products in the world — expanded its operations in southern Idaho, it needed a larger storage unit. That’s where Netherlands-based NewCold came in. This spring, it opened a new mega-refrigerator in Burley. The $90 million facility is 14 stories tall.
“We’re creating more food in the region than we ever have before and so there just needs to be more storage, too," said Connie Stopher, the Executive Director of Southern Idaho Economic Development. She said this project is particularly innovative in the food storage world because it’s entirely automated.
Robots organize palettes of potatoes and regulate the temperature and chemical makeup of the rooms. The facility also employs around 80 people.
Earlier in the week, the governor and his team were in the Basque country cross-promoting tourism. Later they’ll touch down in Ireland to visit the headquarters of Glanbia, a milk and cheese processor.
Economic Development leaders like Stopher hope the governor's trip encourages other international companies to bring their businesses to Idaho. In particular, they see agriculture-related industries like storage and manufacturing as opportunities for further investment.
Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen
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