Magic Valley Food Innovation Center

Magic Valley is investing in the future by launching a center for national food and agricultural entrepreneurship, beginning with pilot programming this fall. With specialized equipment and national industry expertise, the facility will attract high growth startups to Magic Valley, while advancing local businesses statewide.


The nationally competitive center is the result of a months-long feasibility study commissioned by Region IV Economic Development (RIVDA). Led by KRNLS and Plaka and Associates, the independent research team determined that downtown Twin Falls could support a vibrant innovation facility, with events and training to attract entrepreneurs ranging from farmers and local dairymen to students, small business owners, and national startup founders. The study was made possible with generous support from Chobani and Dairy West, whose industry leadership continues to guide future development.


Anchored by food industry veterans, the proposed facility will host such amenities as a dairy processing center, a commercial kitchen, cold and dry storage, a makerspace, anchor tenant offices, conference and event spaces, and dedicated incubation and coworking spaces. The project is guided by a diverse steering committee (listed below), and strengthened by partnerships with Chobani, Dairy West, University of Idaho, and the College of Southern Idaho (CSI).


Initial programming will launch in fall 2021 while the team works on selecting a site for buildout and development. For more about the project’s development, keep up to date on Twitter and Instagram @SouthernIdahoED. For media inquiries, please contact Connie Stopher, Executive Director of Southern Idaho Economic Development at connies@southernidaho.org.


This work would not be possible without thoughtful contributions from the Magic Valley Steering Committee:


Eric Bastian Dairy West

Jenny Nelson Dairy West

Bryan Matsuoka CSI

Todd Schwarz CSI

Jeff McCurdy RIVDA

Connie Stopher Southern Idaho Economic Development

Harry Griffith Sun Valley Economic Development

Jennie Hall University of Idaho

Jim Miller University of Idaho

Updated: Aug 9



From an outside perspective, it seems as if Magic Valley has all the components to create a successful food innovation center. So why does it not exist yet?

In response to an PRF issued by Region IV Development, a study is under way for a Food Innovation Center and Business incubator that would support the counties of Blaine, Camas, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka, and Twin Falls. This study is lead by KRNLS and supported by Plaka + Associates.

The South-central Idaho economy is strongly backboned by the agriculture and food processing industry sectors. The Magic Valley has been labeled “America’s Most Diverse Food Basket”. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Commerce designated South-central Idaho as an “All Things Food” Manufacturing Community. The creation of a food innovation center and business incubator will provide opportunities for entrepreneurs, food companies, small businesses, and existing processors as well as for dairymen, farmers, and ranchers to develop, test, and bring new products and services to the marketplace. The envisioned facility will have components such as a commercial kitchen, laboratories, cold storage, research facilities, classrooms, event space, office space, commercial/retail space, sales/marketing space, and other components and resources such as: business plan preparation, legal, finance, marketing, messaging, packaging, food safety and regulatory support, processing capabilities, connection to suppliers, distributors, and retailers, all of which, are integral components to commercializing a food product.


The involvement of CSI, U of I, and other partners are critical to the success of this

initiative. This food innovation center and business incubator will not only benefit entrepreneurs

and food processing companies but can also serve our regional educational partners. This

facility can be used by educators to train with the most modern and latest food science

technology available to better prepare students to enter the workforce. Allowing educators to use this space will help students learn in the classroom and transition that knowledge to hands-on experience. This center will enhance public-private partnerships and collaboration that will further strengthen the economy in South-central Idaho.


This study explores the sustainability and feasibility of such a space existing in Magic Valley.