The expansion will mean the construction of a state-of-the-art French fry line that will produce 300 million pounds of product per year. It’s modeled on the company’s new line in Richland, Washington and will mean an increase of about 170 full-time jobs for the Hermiston plant.
Construction is expected to be complete by the fourth quarter of 2019. Lamb-Weston’s total investment in the project is estimated to be $250 million.
“The French fry category has been growing at attractive rates around the world, and we believe industry capacity has been challenged in recent years to keep up with continued growth in market demand,” President and CEO Tom Werner said in a prepared statement. “This investment in a new French fry processing line in the Columbia Basin reflects Lamb Weston’s continued commitment to support our strategic partners as they continue to grow their businesses in North America and abroad.
The new line is intended to support growth in North America, as well as exports to Asia, where demand growth is strong. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has approved an award from the state’s Strategic Reserve Fund to help move the project forward. The award is intended to support infrastructure development at the site as well as to help fund workforce training and diversification.
“I’m happy to announce this new state investment as part of my focus on growing a thriving Oregon economy in all parts of our state,” Brown said. “In addition to supporting our rural economies and booming agriculture industry, this investment provides critical workforce training opportunities in well-paying jobs in Eastern Oregon.”