The J. R. Simplot Company, commonly referred to as Simplot, was founded in 1929 by 20-year-old J. R. Simplot near the small agricultural community of Declo in south central Idaho. The business expanded due to high war profits serving the military dehydrated onions and potatoes during World War II. The firm was legally incorporated as the J. R. Simplot Company in 1955.

Simplot made billions from the invention of frozen french fries by one of its scientists, chemist Ray L. Dunlap. By the early 1970s it was the primary supplier of french fries to McDonald's; by 2005 it supplied more than half of all french fries for the fast food chain. Simplot also produces fertilizers for agriculture the mining of which has been a cause of recent environmental concerns.

Simplot is now one of the largest privately owned companies in the world (ranked 59th in Private Companies by Forbes magazine in 2004) and has branches in Australia, Canada, Mexico, China, and several other regions. One of the major plants is in Caldwell, Idaho.

The Simplot company is one of the largest in Idaho and has a large presence in that state, including the sponsoring of Simplot Stadium, and Simplot Sports Complex in Boise. The Simplot company is active in Idaho politics; Butch Otter, current governor of Idaho, was employed by the company for 30 years and at one time served as head of its international division.

J. R. Simplot retired as president of his company in 1973, but remained involved for many years. He stepped down as chair of the board in 1994, and held the title of Chairman Emeritus until his death in 2008. In 2001, Simplot received an honorary degree from Utah State University, honoring him for his many contributions to the agricultural industry of America and, particularly, the mountain west.

Read more about SimplotPhilanthropy, Environmental Record, Simplot Brands

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