Welcome to the Business Plus Newsletter!

August 2021

3rd Quarter Meeting Recap

The Business Plus Board held its 3rd quarter meeting on August 12th, learning about the University of Idaho's Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, known as the "CAFE Project."

Brent Olmstead, Director of External Affairs & Government Relations for the University of Idaho's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, informed our group about the progress made on this project. CAFE is a $45 million project designed as the nation's largest and most advanced research center. It will feature a 2,000-cow dairy, a demonstration farm, food processing research, workforce development degrees, and a Discovery Complex to help educate people about the importance of Idaho's farming and ranching industry. Here are Olmstead's slides:

The Times-News reported on our meeting, August 18, 2021:

Jeff McCurdy, President and CEO of Region IV Development, shared the Feasibility Study for the Food Innovation Center and Business Incubator. Consultants, KRNLS and Plaka+Associates, found that although our region excels at food manufacturing and processing, we do not have a big enough market to support such a facility on its own. However, there is a demand for food testing, development and incubation programs, particularly with a dairy-focused facility. The vision is a facility with a dairy processing center, a commercial kitchen, storage, a makerspace, anchor tenant offices, conference and event spaces, and dedicated incubation and coworking spaces.

"To support the broadest range of entrepreneurs, the center will offer a mix of programming, which could include small business consultation, food safety and regulatory support; sensory testing, startup incubation, investor networking, and pitch competitions."

Olga Pagoda, KRNLS and

Courtney Zaugg, PLAKA+Associates

KMVT's story on the Food Innovation Center, August 17, 2021:

Speaker Contact Information:

Dr. Dean Fisher





Brent Olmstead

Director of External Affairs & Government Relations

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences




Jeff McCurdy

CEO and President



208-732-5725 ext 3010

Connie Stopher (CEcD)

Executive Director




Thank you Meeting Sponsors!

D. L. Evans Bank

Minidoka Memorial Hospital

Packaging Specialties of Idaho

Performix Nutrition Systems

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Rebecca Wildman flippd.jpg

Network with the most influential leaders in the valley while growing your business and the local economy. Business Plus leverages growth by focusing on economic activity that results in job creation and talent attraction. We support a strong regional workforce, employment security and diversity.

Business Plus is a unique network of local business leaders that are solely committed to growing business in the Magic Valley. Join our leaders now!

Rebecca Wildman, Executive Director



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Annual Summit is Postponed

Southern Idaho Economic Development has postponed their Annual Summit due to concerns regarding an increase in Covid-19 cases. We look forward to celebrating this event in the future and will notify Business Plus investors and partners.

"The Demographic Drought"

Employers are finding it challenging to fill many of the jobs in our region. This challenge is not limited to Southern Idaho, or even to Idaho. Workforce shortages are felt throughout the United States. Covid and resulting policies accelerated this problem. A record number of baby boomers left the workforce while millions of prime-age workers left the market (many of them women).

EMSI, an Idaho-based organization that provides labor market data for professionals in higher education, economic development, workforce development, talent acquisition, and site selection, reports on what they term "The Demographic Drought." Below is a link to their report and videos from April 30 and August 27, 2021, explaining the workforce shortage and how it is creating inflation. Explanations suggest that neither challenge is going away any time soon.

Sansdemic: Too Much Work, Too Little People, April 30, 2021

Idaho Economic Reports

Idaho's July Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 3%, Idaho@Work, August 20, 2021

Why Idaho Employers Struggle to Find Workers, Idaho@Work, July 2, 2021

South Central Idaho Unemployment Situation, August 20, 2021

South Central Idaho Labor Force and Economic Profile, August 20, 2021

Zions Bank Economic Snapshot - August 2021

Lava Ridge Wind Project

BLM Public Comment Meetings and MVE Open House

The U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is now in the scoping process for the proposed Lava Ridge Wind Project. Public scoping is the first step in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The process is designed to introduce the project to the public and solicit comments on what the BLM should consider in the EIS analysis.

Read more about the Lava Ridge Scoping Project. Register to attend one of two virtual public meetings. Attend Magic Valley Energy's Open House in September.

Thank you to our New and Renewing Investors!

Thank you Campaign Investors!


First Federal*

D.L. Evans Bank*

Idaho Central Credit Union


Times-News/Amplified Digital Agency*+

Project Mutual Telephone (PMT)*



Clif Bar

Cooper Norman, CPAs*

Dairy West

Idaho Dairymen's Association

Idaho National Lab (INL)*

Idaho Power*

Intermountain Gas Company*

McCain Foods

St. Luke's*

Woodbury Corporation - Magic Valley Mall, 

  Target, Best Buy & Dick's Shopping Centers



American Real Estate and Appraisal*

Atlas Technical Consultants (formerly Materials Testing & Inspection)

Crossroads Point

Dot Foods

EHM Engineers, Inc.

Farmers Bank

Mountain West Realty

Mr. Gas*

Northwest Bank

NOVOLEX / Hilex Poly

Oasis Stop 'N Go / Travelers' Oasis*

PBC Petersen Brothers Construction

PCA Packaging Corporation of America*

Starr Corporation*


United Electric Co-op, Inc.

Watkins Distributing*

Wells Fargo Bank

WillTran, Inc.



Banner Bank


Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Idaho 

  Homes & Properties

Best Western Burley Inn

Blue Lakes Inn / Snake River Pool & Spa

Cassia Regional Hospital - Intermountain Healthcare*


Collins Connection - Kent & Cindy Collins 

  Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices*

Con Paulos Chevrolet

First American Title Company*

Goode Motor Auto Group

Ireland Bank

K&T Steel Corp*

Lytle Signs*

MAGIC Electric, Plumbing, Heating + Air NEW!

McKinlay Klundt Appraisal Co.

Minidoka Memorial Hospital

Nelson & Co.

North Canyon Medical Center

Nu-Vu Glass

Safari Hospitality - Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn

   Express & Suites, Quality Inn and Suites


TOK Commercial

Titlefact, Inc.*

U.S. Bank

Ward Orthodontics

Westfall & Westfall CPAs / Impact Athletic 


Wills Toyota*

Zions Bank*


Devil's Corral

Family Health Services

Gem State Welders Supply*

Moss Greenhouses

New Leaf Properties

Oregon Trail RV Park


Stevens Pierce & Associates CPAs*

Stratus Communications, LLC

United Way of South Central Idaho

Watco (Eastern Idaho Railroad)*



Rep. Maxine Bell, Retired

Doug Brown

Rep. Lance Clow

Jeff Harris

Rep. Stephen Hartgen, Retired

Alan Horner

Dan Olmstead

Ruth Pierce

Jan Rogers

Lee Wagner

Debra Wilson



(past 3 years)


Best Western Burley Inn


Idaho Central Credit Union


Mr. Gas

Nu-Vu Glass

Packaging Specialties of Idaho

PCA Packaging Corporation of America

PerforMix Nutrition Systems

Minidoka Memorial Hospital

Mountain West Realty

Oregon Trail RV

Soran Restaurants, Inc.

Starr Corporation

Stone House & Co.

Stratus Communications

TOK Commercial

Watkins Distributing

Willamette Dental Group

WillTran, Inc.


*Indicates 10+ years of support since 2003

+includes additional promotional investment

Our Mission:

Private Investors Growing Southern Idaho's Economy

Our Vision:

Strong Partnerships Supporting a Vibrant Regional Economy

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