The conversion of the factory has nearly doubled the number of jobs at the site and has helped to attract new customers for Cargill, including fast-food chain Taco Bell.
“The newest, and best, equipment and technologies to produce cooked ground beef, sausage, hot dogs and other products have been incorporated into our Columbus facility, underscoring our commitment to invest in, and grow, our protein business by better meeting our customers’ needs and expectations,” said Brian Sikes, corporate vice president for Wichita-based Cargill Protein.
“We take a great deal of pride in knowing this facility, located in America’s heartland, will help us achieve our goal to nourish people in a safe, responsible and sustainable way.”
Job numbers at the plant will nearly double from 240 to 460.
Many of the workers were who displaced when the factory conversion began have been rehired and were training up in the interim period when the plant was non-operational.
The 36-week course trained up more than 100 people, teaching English as a second language, literacy and writing, maths and IT.
Nebraska’s governor Pete Ricketts will attend an opening ceremony for the converted meat plant on Thursday 20 April. New customer Taco Bell will serve lunch to attendees, using cooked ground beef produced by Cargill.
“I am thrilled to not only celebrate the completion of a tremendous investment Cargill has made in the Columbus community, but also the success of a thoughtful public-private partnership that has helped retain, develop and engage our local workforce,” said Ricketts. “This is a great example of the opportunities we can create for Nebraskans through collaboration and creativity across multiple organisations.”