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Lamb Weston plans job fair as $200M plant takes shape in Richland

Construction personnel work Monday on the various levels of a new building that will house a $200 million french fry processing line at the Lamb Weston manufacturing campus on Saint Street in Richland. When it opens in this fall, the new french fry line will employ an additional 128 people and will annually transform about 300 million pounds of Mid-Columbia potatoes into frozen fry products. The company cited rising global demand for the project, in a previous story.
Construction personnel work Monday on the various levels of a new building that will house a $200 million french fry processing line at the Lamb Weston manufacturing campus on Saint Street in Richland. When it opens in this fall, the new french fry line will employ an additional 128 people and will annually transform about 300 million pounds of Mid-Columbia potatoes into frozen fry products. The company cited rising global demand for the project, in a previous story. Tri-City Herald

As construction advances on Lamb Weston’s new french fry line in Richland, the Idaho-based potato giant is preparing to hire workers.

The company will hold a job fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 10 at WorkSource Columbia Basin, 815 N. Kellogg St., Kennewick, to fill the 128 positions associated with the project.

Applicants can apply at careers.lambweston.com/jobs, where Lamb Weston posts jobs ranging from white collar to blue.

Construction of the $200 million project is on track for completion this fall, said Shelby Stoolman, spokeswoman for Lamb Weston, the newly independent company that spun out of ConAgra Foods Inc. in November.

ConAgra announced plans to construct a second french fry processing line at its manufacturing campus in Richland in June, several months before the two companies separated. Rising global demand for frozen potato products, namely french fries, is behind the investment.

Lamb Weston’s Mid-Columbia operations collectively employ more than 4,000 in food processing plants, research and development and a satellite corporate office in Kennewick.

While Lamb Weston chose to make Eagle, Idaho, a Boise suburb, its corporate headquarters, the investment in Richland highlights the critical role the $3 billion potato giant plays in the Mid-Columbia’s agricultural economy.

Just last week, the Washington Employment Security Department crowned the Tri-Cities as Washington’s fastest-growing job sector in 2016, with an annual growth rate of 3.6 percent. That was driven by a 15-percent increase in jobs related to food manufacturing.

Lamb Weston is not only a major employer, it is the leading buyer of Washington-grown potatoes. The new plant alone will consume an estimated 300 million pounds of potatoes annually.

It is also a leading customer of Preferred Freezer Services’ 455,000-square-foot high-tech commercial freezer in north Richland. Preferred recently confirmed plans to expand to accommodate growing demand for its cold storage and distribution services.

The french fry project is eligible for $250,000 from the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Fund and a sales tax exemption on construction that could be worth up to $13 million.

Wendy Culverwell: 509-582-1514, @WendyCulverwell

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