Latah County cannot sustain a regional value-added food processing plant as an incubator for new businesses, as many local groups interested in economic development had hoped, a study says.
Consultants with Manheim Solutions, which conducted the study, say incubator ventures are rarely profitable, and survey data show a lack of interest in such a plant from producers and purchasers.
Regional food innovation centers subsist through research and grants, not on production alone, says Dan French, primary researcher for Manheim.
Half of producers surveyed said they are unwilling to go more than 25 miles to a plant.
Instead, the consulting firm recommends a focus on filling gaps in local fruit and vegetable production by making possible a year-round farmers market.