About our Founder
J.R. Simplot had the inherent ability to see possibilities where others saw obstacles, and the resolve to act on them—helping him turn a one-man farming operation into a global food and agribusiness enterprise. This foresight has driven the J.R. Simplot Company for more than 90 years and helped create a company culture where new ideas have a chance to grow and flourish.
The Simplot brand began to take shape in the farm fields of southern Idaho in the late 1920s. Young J.R. struck out on his own at age 14, set on entering the agriculture business. He was armed with an eighth-grade education, keen entrepreneurial instincts, constant curiosity, boundless energy and an irrepressible drive.
By the early years of World War II, the J.R. Simplot Company had become the largest shipper of fresh potatoes in the country and was selling millions of pounds of dehydrated onions and potatoes to the military.
J.R.'s ingenuity and determination set his company on its innovative course. His recipe for success: grab opportunity in even the most challenging environments, look at well-known problems for solutions that no one has thought of before, and work harder than anyone else. He had an easy method for judging the right opportunities: If it’s not going to pay off for our customers, it’s not going to pay off for us.
When wartime shortages made it difficult to buy fertilizer, J.R. built a manufacturing plant in Pocatello, Idaho, and produced his own. In the late 1940s the Simplot Company created and marketed the first commercially viable frozen french fries in the world. J.R. became the exclusive supplier of fries to McDonald’s restaurants on little more than a handshake with Ray Kroc and the relationship of respect and trust between the two companies continues to this day.
In this way, and throughout his business career, J.R. blended the commonsense lessons of his youth with a gambler’s intuition and a shrewd businessman’s judgment. J.R. grew and diversified his business as it matured, but the essence of the company remained the same, drawing purpose and strength from the unique character, history and motivation of its founder. There remains an unbreakable link between the company’s success and our roots in farming and food. We still share many qualities with farmers: independence, fairness, resilience and a deep respect for the land. Perhaps most of all, we share a dedication to the fundamental principle of cultivation: we imagine a better future and set goals to reach it.
The J.R. Simplot Company now has major operations in six countries, and our efforts provide food for people around the world. Although J.R. Simplot will remain forever fixed as the founder, leader and inspiration of the company that bears his name, he would be the first to point out that scores of dedicated employees contributed mightily – and still do – to the success of the organization. Our Core Values – Passion for People, Spirit of Innovation, and Respect for Resources – are as relevant now as they were when J.R. began this journey almost 100 years ago.
A Legacy of Integrity
The J.R. Simplot Company’s legacy of integrity is the foundation of our Code of Conduct, built on J.R. Simplot’s vision and steadfast leadership that started almost a century ago. The Code serves both as a guide to company values and a commitment to adhere to these values.
Working at Simplot
The J.R. Simplot Company has operations that touch every aspect of agriculture including seed production, farming and ranching, plant sciences, fertilizer manufacturing, food processing, commercial product development and distribution. We pioneer sustainable innovations to protect our resources and we strive to feed a growing population.