3 major processors choose Pasco, betting on the future success of Tri-City
You may have noticed that the front page of this month, the place where we put our most compelling news, is dominated by not one, but three articles on Pasco’s food processing.
We normally strive to offer a more diverse mix and try to present stories from at least two or three of the four (or five or six) cities that make up the Tri-Cities.
But July was different. The news that Dairgold Inc., Reser’s Fine Foods and an indoor farming startup in the midst of a $ 1.1 billion IPO are building new factories in Pasco was too, well, convincing to ignore.
We promise that there will be a lot of interesting news on the other points of our compass in the July edition. But we hope you enjoy the magnitude of what is happening in Pasco right now.
Darigold, Reser’s and Local Bounti will together spend up to $ 1 billion to build factories in our community. They could have chosen other places. There is no doubt that fierce battles to attract them were fought behind the scenes elsewhere. But they chose us.
As Randy Hayden, executive director of the Port of Pasco, said of Reser’s, he chose Pasco because he has had a good experience here since he first landed in 1998.
Darigold, the Seattle-based dairy cooperative, will build its largest protein and butter factory – milk drying for short – ever, a $ 500 million investment.
Portland-based Reser’s Fine Foods has purchased part of the old Cox Farms for its new expansion plant, a 250,000 square foot giant that overshadows its existing 110,000 square foot plant at the Pasco Processing Center. As Hayden noted, Reser reviewed other sites before staying in Pasco.
He did not disclose the budget for his project, but it could expand into the nine-figure range.
Local Bounti is a newcomer to the food industry. The Hamilton, Montana-based startup is building a
$ 40 million greenhouse complex in Pasco, fueled by a merger / IPO deal with a specialty acquisition company called Leo Holdings III.
We talk a lot about economic diversification in the Tri-Cities, about developing an economy that can stand on its own, regardless of the constant flow of funding from the US Department of Energy for the Hanford cleanup.
No one complains about the wealth that creates both talent and technology here.
But manufacturing, especially food manufacturing, brings something else. The Tri-Cities are one, if not the most important, of the Northwest’s food processing communities. We’re happy that greats like Darigold and Reser agree, and that a newcomer like Local Bounti is betting their future success on us too.