The economy of Southern Idaho is positioned to lead, with diverse sectors succeeding throughout the six-county region. Here are some reasons for that success:
Southern Idaho offers many transportation options, including Magic Valley Regional Airport, which has daily passenger flights to Salt Lake City and oversees thousands of corporate jet takeoffs and landings each year. Airport officials have announced plans to upgrade the terminal building with a larger passenger seating area and more bathrooms.
Southern Idaho offers rail cargo customers access to Eastern Idaho Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad, and a strong highway system supports distribution, warehousing and logistics companies. Interstate 84 is a major east-west route, U.S. Highway 93 spans north to south, and U.S. Highway 30 also serves the region.
Advanced manufacturing is an important contributor to the local economy, employing tens of thousands of Southern Idaho residents. Major manufacturers include Packaging Corporation of America, Coast-to-Coast Car Ports, Dart Container, Double L, Everton Mattress, Hamilton Manufacturing, Hilex Poly, Jayco Manufacturing, KapStone Paper & Packaging, K&T Steel, Mulholland Positioning Systems, Packaging Specialties, Seastrom Manufacturing and Spears Manufacturing.
Agriculture, Food Production
Agriculture is big business in Southern Idaho, with several local crops ranking in the top 10 nationally for production, including potatoes, barley, alfalfa hay, dry edible beans, sugar beets, spring wheat and winter wheat. The region is also a major player in livestock, honey, dairy products and sheep production for wool.
As a result, several agriculture and food-based companies are flourishing in Southern Idaho, including Amalgamated Sugar, Chobani, Clear Springs, Clif Bar, ConAgra/Lamb Weston, Glanbia, Gossner, Idaho Milk Products, Jerome Cheese, McCain Foods and Monsanto.
With good highways in place, the warehousing and distribution sector is on solid ground in Southern Idaho, where major companies include Americold Logistics, Apex Container, Bean Warehouse, DOT Foods and WOW Logistics. Twin Falls-based Henningsen Cold Storage is one of the largest public refrigerated warehousing companies in the U.S., using several over-the-road truck carriers to transport its cold-storage inventory to customers throughout the U.S.
Workforce Development Resources
The College of Southern Idaho and its Workforce Training Network offer noncredit classes for people looking to upgrade or learn industrial apprenticeship skill. It schedules regular meetings of industry representatives, workforce organizations, educators and economic development officials to create programs for students who will meet the needs of business tomorrow. The network gets the word out to students and adults about available career opportunities that do not require a four-year degree.
TechHelp is an online resource website (www.techhelp.org) specifically designed to assist entrepreneurs. Business Plus grants money to expand and create jobs, and at ARTEC technical charter school students receive advanced instruction for high-end industries in Southern Idaho.