POST FALLS, Idaho (AP) — The Jacklin Seed facility in northern Idaho is being shut down and the bluegrass seed operation moved to Washington state, J.R. Simplot Company officials say.
Simplot spokesman David Cuoio in an announcement Thursday said 25 production employees at the Post Falls facility in Idaho will not be sent to the new site in Othello, Wash.
The company also told the Coeur d'Alene Press (http://bit.ly/VDbmG9) that 40 employees in research and development, administration and sales will be moved to Washington state.
J.R. Simplot Company acquired Jacklin Seed in 1997. But it also has a seed-cleaning facility near Othello, Wash., which is closer to the company's production areas in central Washington.
"The growing area for the bluegrass industry in the Pacific Northwest has shifted, and this new location near Othello will keep Jacklin Seed in the midst of the market," said Chris Claypool, Jacklin Seed general manager.
Officials said the Othello site will take the Jacklin Seed name during the transition. Jacklin Seed products are used by golf courses, lawn care companies, athletic field managers and others.
J.R. Simplot Company plans to provide severance packages, counseling and other services to those losing their jobs.
"We will be doing what we can to ease the transition," said Garrett Lofto, Simplot AgriBusiness Group president. "We hope that making this announcement so far in advance of the closure will help them adequately plan for their futures."
Cuoio said the Post Falls site is in a prime location for future businesses and will probably be sold. He said the company's decision to make the move wasn't based on the decline of grass seed production and field burning on the Rathdrum Prairie in northern Idaho.
Kerri Thoreson, a city council member, said Simplot's decision is another indication of the area moving away from its farm background.
"To lose a company that has been such an integral part of Post Falls' local economy for 77 years is a sad day, especially for the good jobs that will be lost as well," Thoreson wrote in an email to the newspaper. "This underscores just how important it is moving forward to aggressively pursue and attract manufacturing jobs to our city."
Arden Jacklin founded Jacklin Seed in 1936, and Jacklin is a well-known name in Kootenai County. Many buildings and facilities use the name, including at the arts and cultural center in Post Falls, the Kootenai County Fairgrounds, and University of Idaho Research Park in Post Falls. And the Jacklin Land Development Company in Post Falls gave 28 acres to the University of Idaho Foundation in 1997 for a research park.
Information from: Coeur d'Alene Press, http://www.cdapress.com
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.