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Gov. Pete Ricketts visits with Columbus Mayor Jim Bulkley (second from right) and ADM Regional Business Manager Nathan Mead (right) and another ADM official during Tuesday's plant unveiling.

COLUMBUS — It wouldn’t be hard to track the footprint of the new ADM animal nutrition facility on the eastern edge of Columbus — just look next door.

Archer Daniels Midland unveiled the new high-technology feed facility at the corner of East 59th Avenue and U.S. 30 for several hundred visitors Tuesday afternoon while conducting tours of the state-of-the-art plant.

“It’s pretty impressive,” Columbus Mayor Jim Bulkley said. “ADM built a completely new feed mill right next door to replace the original plant that opened 1968.”

The mayor pointed to the new plant’s sophisticated automation and computerization, featuring a start-to-finish computer system that handles receiving, batching, packaging and loadout.

“Look at everything in the plant,” Bulkley said of ADM, a leading manufacturing, nutrition and marketing business that offers a wide range of leading-edge products for the animal nutrition market.

ADM, which hosted a burgers-and-chips luncheon for Gov. Pete Ricketts, local dignitaries and business leaders, company officials and others, didn’t leave the community when the old plant became less efficient, he said.

“They stayed and got bigger,” Bulkley said. “That speaks to the diversity of Columbus’ economy with industry, manufacturing and agriculture.”

The mayor said the company plans to gut the old feed mill and use it mostly as a warehouse.

In addition to the technology upgrade, the new plant includes a production line to provide a range of blocks for cattle, dairy cows and horses, multiple batching systems with simultaneous weighing for high efficiency and high output and a control system designed to deliver consistent food quality and safety.

In Columbus, company officials said, the ADM Nutrition facility is focused primarily on beef, with primary feed customers being feedlots and cow/calf operators. The company, however, makes hundreds of feed products at the local plant, including feed and other items for pigs, chicken, lamb and goat.

Officials said the plant will run two 12-hour shifts five days a week, with the possibility of adding a third if needed. There will be 11-12 workers needed for each shift.

Ricketts credited ADM for forging a partnership with Nebraska agricultural leaders, which he said helps the economy and creates opportunities for young people.

“Adding value to agricultural products is at the heart of a strong and growing ag economy in Nebraska,” Ricketts said prior to a ribbon-cutting ceremony. “By producing high-quality livestock feed here, ADM is not only adding value to ag products, but their continued investment adds value to our state.”

The investment will grow jobs for young people, said the governor, adding his thanks to the people of Columbus for their support.

Glen Killian considers himself a little fish when it comes to being an ADM feed products dealer in the Howard County area. He has been a dealer for the past three years and handles about 450 tons of feed products annually for the company.

“I’m a small fry considering the other dealers I’m chasing,” Killian said while enjoying his lunch. He said the efficiencies and savings from automation are plain to see.

Larry and Carolyn Lueschen were at Tuesday’s unveiling to get a look at Larry’s former workplace. He retired in 2010 after 40 years with Moorman Manufacture, a livestock feed company later bought by ADM.

“It really looks modern inside,” Lueschen said. “It’s really got everything.”

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