ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston to expand Richland operations

Lamb Weston is adding a new $200 million French fry processing line at its Richland processing center. The new line is expected to create 128 new full-time positions.

According to a press release from ConAgra Foods, worldwide demand for frozen French fries continues to increase and it is predicted the demand for frozen potato products will grow by 2.6 billion pounds by 2020. The expansion will allow Lamb Weston to continue its global growth trend.

Construction on the new state-of-the-art processing line will begin this month and is expected to be complete in the fall of 2017. When operational, the new line will increase annual processing capacity at the Richland facility by more than 300 million pounds.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to help our customers realize their global growth projections, but we need to make more French fries to do that,” said Greg Schlafer, Lamb Weston president, in the release. “Investing in capabilities like this is indicative of the opportunity we see in potatoes, and our specific opportunity at Lamb Weston to lead the category.”

Lamb Weston partnered with local officials and organizations the State of Washington to establish the expansion plans, including Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Sharon Brown, Sen. Mark Schoesler, TRIDEC, the city of Richland, the Association of Washington Business and the Washington Department of Commerce.

“I am so pleased to have Lamb Weston reinvesting in Washington with the creation of 125 new jobs,” Gov. Inslee said, in a prepared statement. “This next generation of food processing in Richland is the perfect match of our agriculture and technology industries, which is why I worked intensively with the company to help them choose our terrific state.”

Cindy Reents, Richland’s city manager, said the expansion is not only an investment in the city, but the community overall.

“We are thrilled to continue our relationship with this respected company,” Reents said.

Lamb Weston’s Richland plant was built in 1972 and employs about 500 people. The company has several offices and facilities throughout the Tri-Cities, including an Innovation Center in Richland, corporate offices in Kennewick and two additional manufacturing facilities in Pasco. Lamb Weston is one of the largest employers in the Columbia Basin, with about 4,500 employees.

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