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Agribusiness in Twin Falls and Southern Idaho Is Blooming

Find out why companies like True West Beef and Hempitecture choose to set up shop in the food-centric Magic Valley.

By John McBryde on December 14, 2022

True West Beef’s new production facility is expected to create more than 350 jobs in the region.
True West Beef

In more ways than one, Southern Idaho proved to be the ideal location for True West Beef, a beef production facility scheduled to open in Jerome in January 2023.

True West Beef is jointly owned by the Boise-based company Agri Beef and a collection of area cattle ranchers and feeders in the region. Agribusiness in Twin Falls and Southern Idaho is successful, thanks to an abundance of agricultural resources, a knowledgeable workforce and considerable access to transportation.

“It’s in the heart of what could be seen as the epicenter of agricultural food production, which is great for us,” says Jay Theiler, Agri Beef’s executive vice president for corporate affairs.

“It has a strong culture and is a great supplier of cattle. And the Magic Valley area has great people with a can-do spirit. You couple that with the ease of access to the transportation structure, and it’s easy to see how it’s a perfect location to build our plant.”

The True West Beef team in Southern Idaho.
True West Beef

Food-Centric Southern Idaho

True West Beef, a new model for beef production that’s expected to create more than 350 jobs, is but one of several food-processing operations in Southern Idaho.

Others include Chobani, Clif Bar and McCain Foods, to name a few. Together, these companies have made the region a thriving place for food production.

“This region is America’s most diversified food basket,” says Jan Rogers, interim executive director at Southern Idaho Economic Development. “There literally is no other region in the United States with the diversity of food that we have here, in production, processing and science. We’re very food-centric.”

Rogers notes the region offers a workforce that supports food, logistics and packaging, plus all that goes with it.

As rich in agriculture and related food processing as Southern Idaho is, the region is also alive with a diverse cross section of employers that help bolster the economy. The list includes Dow Chemical, St. Luke’s Medical Center and College of Southern Idaho, among others.

Ketchum-based Hempitecture expanded in Jerome with a new manufacturing center. The facility produces a thermal insulation building material that is good for the planet.
Hempitecture

Southern Idaho’s Pro-Business Climate

A newcomer to the ranks is Hempitecture, a company based in Ketchum that has recently completed a 20,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Jerome, where it will make its flagship product known as HempWool.

It’s a sustainable, high-performing fiber insulation for residential and commercial construction, providing a nontoxic alternative to traditional insulation.

Mattie Mead, founder and CEO of Hempitecture, settled on Ketchum for his headquarters after he was contacted by someone in the city who had read about his hemp-based concept. He looked south to build the manufacturing plant for HempWool.

Mead says the company chose Jerome through a competitive process that included evaluating out-of-state locations and options in places such as Oregon, Montana and California. Jerome County made the cut for a number of reasons.

“The pro-business climate was certainly palatable,” Mead says. “The Jerome County commissioners were very receptive to the concept. They offered us a competitive tax abatement that gave us good incentive to establish in Jerome.”

Solid Work-Life Balance

Theiler and Mead also tout the livability factor of Southern Idaho as a key reason to locate their facilities here.

“Being a family company here in Boise, we have the same values as those available in the Magic Valley,” Theiler says. “From that perspective, the work-life balance and everything we looked for made the area in Jerome a particularly good location. Our company and our folks are probably some of the biggest cheerleaders for that area because of the factors that make it such a great place to live.”

As for Hempitecture, Mead says the various features of Southern Idaho make it attractive for holding company outings here.

“We have team members who work remotely, and we always bring them to Idaho because it’s such a great place to get together with our team and have time to connect and have that person-to-person experience,” he says. “We love it here.”

“This region is America’s most diversified food basket. There literally is no other region in the United States with the diversity of food that we have here.”

– Jan Rogers, Southern Idaho Economic Development

Why Agribusiness in Twin Falls and Southern Idaho?

A study by Southern Idaho Economic Development on agribusiness in Twin Falls and Southern Idaho revealed:

  • The region sold almost $7 billion of related goods and services and contributed $2.5 billion to Idaho’s gross state product.
  • More than 15,000 of total area jobs are farm or processing related.
  • Almost half of Magic Valley jobs are directly or indirectly created by agribusiness.
  • Two of every three sales dollars are directly or indirectly created by agribusiness.
  • Southern Idaho ranks in the top third of U.S. states for food processing.

Staff Writer Kevin Litwin contributed to this article.

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