Food & Agriculture Related

NE: Cargill to Dedicate $111M Expanded Columbus Plant

13 Apr, 2017

Cargill has finished work on its retooled and expanded Columbus cooked meats plant.

The agricultural giant announced plans for an April 20 dedication ceremony for the plant. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts along with other government, civic and business leaders will be on hand to dedicate the $111 million facility.

Announced in late 2015, the project to convert Cargill's fresh ground beef plant to a cooked meats operation adds capabilities the company previously did not have and increased the size of the facility by nearly 50 percent, to 160,000 square feet. Employment at the plant will nearly double, from 240 people before the conversion, to 460 by the end of 2017.

The plant shut down to do the conversion, and about one-third of the existing workers were laid off. Cargill said it was able to rehire 49 of those workers thanks to a Nebraska Department of Labor Training Program facilitated by Central Community College. The program, paid for with a $465,000 grant, also helped about 100 employees keep their jobs.

Among the plant's largest customers is Taco Bell, which will have a food truck at the dedication ceremony serving tacos containing cooked seasoned ground beef produced at the plant.

"Taco Bell shares the same growth mindset as Cargill and is proud to be a part of the dedication of this massive state-of-the-art project," said Brian Niccol, CEO of Taco Bell Corp., in a news release.

In addition to the Columbus plant, Cargill also has large plants in Nebraska City and Schuyler. Overall, it employs about 4,000 people at 17 locations throughout the state.