Cargill Inc said on Thursday that it will invest $111 million to convert one of its Nebraska plants to allow the ground beef giant to produce more cooked meat products for large food service customers, including restaurants.
To make room, the company said it also plans to relocate the ground beef production currently taking place at the Columbus, Nebraska, facility to its existing processing plants in Butler, Wisconsin, and Forth Worth, Texas.
About $27 million of the $111 million will be spent in the company's Butler and Forth Worth ground beef plants, where additional new production lines will be installed, Cargill said.
The plant conversion in Nebraska is expected to begin early this December, and the cooked meat production scheduled to start in mid-2016, Cargill said in a statement.
While much of the cooked product is expected to be beef-based, the company said the plant may also produce pork, chicken or other cooked proteins.
"This is being driven by customer desires for more cooked meat product," said Cargill spokesman Michael Martin. "We haven't been able to meet the demand so far, and now we can."
The company said 80 of the 250 jobs currently at the Columbus plant will be impacted when the conversion begins in December. Cargill is already talking to workers about open jobs available at its other facilities, Martin said.