By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Earlier this month, the M.D. of Taber Council visited the Lamb Weston factory east of Taber.
“The M.D. of Taber was interested in obtaining a better understanding of how our award-winning facility operates, our extensive contributions to the local economy, and the challenges we face,” said Scott Wojtowicz, plant manager. “We had thorough discussions and identified areas to strengthen our partnership to benefit the local economy.”
The plant, Wojtowicz says, hosted Merrill Harris (Division 1 Councillor and Reeve), John Turcado (Division 2 Councillor), Brian Hildebrand (Division 3 Councillor), Tamara Miyanaga (Division 4 Councillor and Deputy Reeve), John DeGroot (Division 5 Councillor), Murray Reynolds (Division 6 Councillor), Chantal Claassen (Division 7 Councillor), Arlos Crofts (Chief Administrative Officer) and Carley Grant (Communications Coordinator). Charles Iwan (Plant Controller), Seth Huseby (Engineering Manager), Scott Virostek (Ag Operations Manager) and Scott Wojtowicz (Plant Manager) from Lamb Weston were also in attendance, Wojtowicz says.
“The visit was a positive opportunity for us to showcase our plant and discuss the integral relationship between our business and the M.D of Taber,” Wojtowicz said. “The Council members were very appreciative of the eye-opening opportunity to visit and tour our industry-leading production plant.”
The tour, Wojtowicz says, began with discussions revolving around day-to-day business operations, plant processes, and opportunities and challenges that Lamb Weston faces. After approximately an hour and a half of those discussions, Wojtowicz led a tour of the award-winning facility and the tour finished with a fry tasting, the fries being straight off of the production line.
Wojtowicz says that the plant itself was built in 1999 and currently partners with more than 30 local growers to supply the high-quality potatoes required to produce delicious frozen potato products for customers. The Taber facility, Wojtowicz says, supplies primarily to large food service organizations, and restaurant chains. They also export many products globally. The company’s retail product is primarily sold in the U.S.
“It is often a surprise to people in the community to discover that Lamb Weston is the number one frozen potato supplier in all of North America,” Wojtowicz said. “Our product is enjoyed by people around the globe. The local Taber plant team has a strong reputation for producing top-quality product and our employees often refer their friends and family members to join – knowing that this is an attractive company to work for.”
In the time that the plant has been in the Taber area, Wojtowicz says, they have developed a long-term partnership with the Taber Food Bank Society and have provided annual grants to them since establishing the Lamb Weston Foundation in 2017. Wojtowicz says that Lamb Weston team members can also donate to charities they care about through the company’s Pay it Forward donation campaign. The Taber Food Bank Society and the Taber Special Needs Society were among the top recipients of the company’s 2023 campaign. Lamb Weston, Wojtowicz says, even rewards their own team members for their volunteer service on non-profit boards, resulting in a $2,500 donation to the Taber Childcare Centre Society.
“These grants support the incredible work they do to provide food and services to the local community,” Wojtowicz said. “In the last year, we have donated more than 6,500 lbs of our product to support various community events and charities, as well as monetary donations totaling more than $12,000 to community causes in and around the Taber area.”
Wojtowicz says that Lamb Weston shares their love for French fries and the Taber community at the annual Cornfest parade every year. For more information about Lamb Weston, visit: https://www.lambweston.com/en-ca.html.
“Located in the heart of the ‘Agri Food Corridor’, we are proud to be a pivotal part of Alberta’s economy employing more than 300 potato experts at our facility, contributing to robust farming producing millions of pounds of locally-grown potatoes each year, and exporting our product to be consumed by happy customers around the globe,” Wojtowicz said. “Our company has a very bright future ahead as we continue to grow and challenge the status quo.”