Southern Idaho’s “Magic Valley” Designated as a Top U.S. Manufacturing Community

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U.S. Commerce Department selects Southern Idaho based on strength of the region’s extensive food manufacturing cluster and “All Things Food” brand, says the Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization.

The Southern Idaho region, branded All Things Food, boasts a strong agricultural base to support food manufacturers.

“This is a defining moment for our small region and validates our All Things Food brand,” said Jan Rogers, executive director, Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization.

Idaho’s six-county region known as “The Magic Valley” has been selected as a top 12 U.S. manufacturing community by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) – one of four U.S. regions in the Food Manufacturing category.

“Both new and existing companies have taken notice that Idaho – and specifically the Magic Valley – is feeding the world, and we are now proud to have this official designation that truly puts Idaho on the map as a Manufacturing Community, capturing Idaho’s rich heritage of world class raw materials and a robust food processing workforce,” said Idaho Governor Butch Otter.

Southern Idaho will receive a number of direct and significant benefits because of this federal designation, including preferential consideration for federal funding, food-related talent attraction and training opportunities, direct access to federal economic development resources and national branding as a select U.S. Manufacturing Community.

“An IMCP designation is an important signal to potential investors that these communities are a good place to spend their money, and this is smart government at work," said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

“The numerous partners engaged in the All Things Food Manufacturing Community initiative have made Southern Idaho extremely successful in recruiting and retaining business, creating targeted workforce programs, building public infrastructure, and establishing effective marketing strategies,” said Carleen Herring, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Southern Idaho’s Region IV Development Association and author of the winning grant. “This designation will directly impact the sustainability and future growth of our region’s food production, processing and science industry cluster.”

Southern Idaho secured a record-setting seven projects in 10 months during 2012-2013, including new investments from food giants Chobani, Monsanto, Clif Bar and Frulact Group as well as expansions of Glanbia Foods, McCain Foods and Calva/Brewster.

“This is a defining moment for our small region and validates our All Things Food brand,” said Jan Rogers, executive director, Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization. “Our six-county region of approximately 163,000 is now on the global map as a major food manufacturing destination, a recognition we’ve been working toward for nearly a decade. This designation will help the numerous food industries here and put us on the radar for potential new interest.”

The Southern Idaho region boasts a strong agricultural base of row crops, sugar beets, potatoes, barley, winter/summer wheat, oats, seed production, pork processing, cattle/calves, dairy production/processing, aquaculture, food science/R&D, and lamb, mink and honey production.

Idaho ranks in the top third of U.S. states for food processing, and Southern Idaho leads the state’s agribusiness industry by contributing well over half of the state’s nearly $9.7 billion agriculture receipts for 2014. In addition to superior natural resources, the region offers food companies the infrastructure to process, package and transport agriculture products.

The U.S. Commerce Department-led IMCP program is designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in communities nationwide by supporting the development of long-term economic development strategies. Link here for the Commerce Department’s official press release and background on the program:

The Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization (SIEDO) is a joint venture of public and private sectors formed to help diversify and strengthen the regional economy by retaining and attracting business in the communities of Twin Falls, Jerome, Kimberly, Filer, Gooding, Glenns Ferry, Burley, Heyburn, Paul, and Rupert.

Located along the Snake River, Southern Idaho’s communities are located 120 miles southeast of Boise, Idaho’s state capital, and 220 miles northwest of Salt Lake City.

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April Mason Nichols
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