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Study names Great Falls, MT, most affordable market for food processing

Great Falls, MT —  June 7, 2018 — The Great Falls Montana Development Authority has announced that Great Falls is the least expensive market to operate a food processing plant based on a review of 25 U.S. cities.

The study, conducted by The Boyd Company, found that annual operating costs for a 325-person food processing plant in Great Falls are 25 percent less than the most expensive metro, Boston, Mass.

"Our analysis focused on geographically variable cost elements considered to be most pivotal within the corporate site selection process," says John Boyd, Principal, The Boyd Company, a Princeton, N.J.,-based site selection firm. "Great Falls came out on top because of its low land and construction costs and its proximity to raw materials including livestock, wheat, nuts and seeds."

Boyd surveyed 25 metro areas with high concentrations of food processing companies that receive raw materials from the Great Falls region including Boston, Newark, N.J., Fairfield, Calif., Seattle, Wash., San Diego, Los Angeles, Omaha, Neb.; Portland, Maine, Hersey/Lebanon, Penn., Atlanta, Ga., and Boise, Idaho.

"We are pleased with the result of this extensive, in-depth survey. It shows companies that receive materials from our area will find it more cost effective to locate here, near the source of the ingredients, as they expand and grow," says Brett Doney, president, GFDA.

The Great Falls region is an emerging destination for food processing plants with a recent investment of $20 million by Montana Specialty Mills on a new processing center. Other food processing companies in the region include Pasta Montana, which recently invested $6.5 million in a line expansion; Montana Eggs, which recently opened a new $9 million facility; Montana Milling; General Mills; CHS Nutrition and others.

"Selecting Great Falls as the location for our food processing plant gave us greater control over the cost and the quality of our raw ingredients. The region's low cost-of-living and low energy prices have provided a further competitive advantage, allowing us to plow funds back into quality improvements. The value that we offer by combining lower prices with superior quality has driven increased market share and stronger financials," says Dan Bateman, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Pasta Montana.

Great Falls was recently named by the Montana Department of Agriculture as one of the state's four Food & Ag Development Centers. The classification recognizes Great Falls' ability to attract target niches in food and agricultural processing that support the creation of high wage jobs and expand the region's tax base.

"The Boyd survey reaffirms our belief that the Great Falls region is one of North America's strongest communities for food processing operations," says Jolene Schalper, vice president, GFDA. "With easy access to interstate and rail corridors, in addition to the low cost of natural ingredients and products, the Great Falls region has a lot to offer food processors."

The full results from The Boyd Company's Cost Comparison Survey can be found listed below from most to least expensive. 

FOOD PROCESSING PLANT - OPERATING COST RANKINGS

1.    Boston, MA              

2.    Newark, NJ         

3.    Fairfield, CA         

4.    Seattle, WA         

5.    San Diego,CA          

6.    Los Angeles, CA     

7.    Minneapolis, MN     

8.    Chicago, IL         

9.    Stockton, CA         

10.    Modesto, CA          

11.    Bakersfield, CA         

12.    Fresno, CA         

13.    Portland, OR         

14.    Denver, CO          

15.    Rochester, NY         

16.    St. Louis, MO         

17.    Portland, ME         

18.    Hershey/Lebanon, PA      

19.    Atlanta, GA         

20.    Cincinnati, OH         

21.    Dallas, TX          

22.    Buffalo, NY         

23.    Omaha, NE         

24.    Boise, ID         

25.    Great Falls, MT         

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