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Salute to Idaho Agriculture: Amalgamated Sugar

One thing that sets Amalgamated Sugar apart from others in the industry is being grower-owned
Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 3:42 PM MST
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Nearly a year ago, the Amalgamated Sugar factory in Twin Falls was engulfed in flames. For a moment, the 105-year-old factory was at risk.

Walk around the facility today, and you can hardly tell that moment ever happened.

“We are back to full operation,” said plant manager Ian Kihara. “We got everything completed about a month into the campaign, into the processing season.”

Kihara and his team are back to producing millions of pounds of sugar for customers around the United States.

The plant brings in sugar beets from around the Snake River corridor, boils them down into a sugary syrup, and evaporates that syrup into its final form-sugar.

“It’s a pretty unique process,” said Kihara, “where we actually go from agricultural all the way to food product.”

One thing that sets Amalgamated Sugar apart from others in the industry is being grower-owned. Since 1997, the company has sold shares to sugar beet growers, allowing them to decide how the factory operates.

“The growers definitely take a lot of pride in the company,” said Kihara. “They love what they do, they love what they see. Watching them invest the money into this company that has grown up in Idaho, to really help drive the future of the agricultural economy has been fantastic to see.”

Kihara, an Idaho native, says he takes immense pride in his work, saying being able to impart this centuries-old tradition to future growers is important work.

“As we see the industrialization of the entire state, we still see that prideful, true homegrown mentality amongst the growers, amongst the grower community,” said Kihara. “It’s fantastic, it’s fun to be a part of.”

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