GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — Grand Island’s largest employer is going to get bigger as JBS USA has announced a $95 million expansion project at its Grand Island beef production facility.

According to JBS USA, the project includes new, improved animal handling facilities, a state-of-the-art temperature-controlled harvest floor and a reconfigured facility designed to improve team member experience, food safety and product quality.

Tim Schellpeper, JBS USA fed beef president, said the expansion is an “important strategic investment.”

“Around the world, from North and South America to Asia and Africa, consumers crave the superior taste and quality of American beef,” Schellpeper said. “Partnering with leading Nebraska and other area beef producers, we are proud to invest in a vibrant future for U.S. beef.”

The 107,000-square-foot expansion project, which has already started, is anticipated to be completed in early 2021. Operations at Grand Island will continue uninterrupted throughout.

Centrally located in one of the nation’s top beef-producing states, the company said that JBS’s Grand Island facility partners with more than 670 local producers to export U.S. beef to more than 30 countries around the world, including Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Singapore, under signature brands such as 1855 Black Angus, Swift, and Swift Black Angus.

The expansion project will allow the company to strategically capitalize on increased international demand forecasts for high-quality U.S. beef and value-added beef products, said Zack Ireland, Grand Island plant manager.

Originally built in 1965 by Swift & Company, the Grand Island beef facility joined JBS USA in 2007 and produces nearly 1 billion pounds of beef and beef products each year.

The plant is Grand Island’s largest employer with more than 3,500 employees.

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