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Southern Idaho Yields a Bumper Crop of Job Options

Grow your career here in the Magic Valley's thriving agribusiness sector.

By Val Hunt Beerbower on December 10, 2021

Representing agriculture in Southern Idaho
iStock.com/ALEKSANDARDICKOV

Agriculture and food manufacturing aren’t small potatoes when it comes to jobs in Twin Falls and the Southern Idaho region. And it’s not just potatoes. It’s also sugar beets, beans, winter and summer wheat, barley, alfalfa hay, corn, seeds, and yes, even sweet potatoes.

Agriculture is responsible for 42% of the jobs and 59% of total sales in the Magic Valley. The agriculture industry in Southern Idaho is also responsible for nearly half of the region’s gross regional product.

“Idaho is the third-largest agricultural state in the West. Playing a significant role in Idaho’s economy, agriculture is part of the foundation to the way of life in Idaho,” says Amanda Worthington, marketing manager at Southern Idaho Economic Development.

Deep Roots in Southern Idaho

Agribusiness is an industry that truly shines in Southern Idaho. Its presence is so large that it is broken into three sectors: production (the growing of the food), processing (turning the food into something), and food science (innovating to make food better) – and each greatly adds dollars and jobs to the region.

Nadia King, head of human resources for global food producer Glanbia Nutritionals, says those assets make the region a prime target for companies like Glanbia, which works with food companies and others to improve the quality of their products.

“There is a strong agricultural base of dairy production/processing, food science and R&D, and infrastructure to support dairy production already in the area,” she says.

A Region on the Mooove

About 70% of Idaho dairy cows and 76% of dairies are located in Southern Idaho. Food science can use that base element and spin it into myriad products that create more jobs through production and distribution.

Magic Valley Milk

Crops aren’t the only economic drivers harvested in the Magic Valley. The region’s excellent cow feed availability and its generally cool, year-round climate makes it an ideal location for dairy production.

Key dairy-related companies in the region include Calva Products, Chobani, Commercial Creamery, Darigold, Idaho Milk Products and Agropur (formerly Jerome Cheese).

Glanbia Nutritionals has more than 2,800 employees in 19 countries on five continents, and roughly 1,000 of those employees are located in Southern Idaho.

“It’s an agriculturally rich state with a quality milk pool, dedicated farmers and a truly beautiful location and community,” King says. “We have state-of-the-art innovation and R&D centers located in Twin Falls, focusing on core research and innovative nutritional solutions.”

A Bright Future Here

With all these agribusiness resources, it’s no wonder Idaho is the fastest growing state in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau. “If you’re looking to grow in your skills and innovate, the career opportunities in agriculture and food science in Southern Idaho are endless,” Worthington says. “We’ve seen tremendous job growth each year, coupled with an incredibly low unemployment rate.”

Training programs in place can help adults acquire the skills necessary to transition their careers and capitalize on these agribusiness job opportunities. The College of Southern Idaho Workforce Development & Training department, for example, offers customized training programs designed to address company needs and develop results-driven solutions.

It’s not just the adults embarking on these high-powered career trajectories; young adults are taking up agribusiness roles, as well. “One fact many people find surprising is that Southern Idaho has a young and ready workforce that is eight years younger than the U.S. average,” Worthington says.

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