December 16, 2008
The final agreement is scheduled on January 2 with Cargill to take over operations beginning January 5.
Cargill officials met on Friday (Dec 12) to make the announcement with Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, Senator Arnie Stuthman, Mayor Mike Moser and co-chairman of the Columbus economic council David Bell.
Bell said with Cargill becoming the owner, it will strengthen the Carneco plant.
Cargill Value Added Meats president John O'Carroll said following the destruction of Cargill's Booneville plant by fire on Easter Sunday (Mar 23), it was approached by Lopez Foods Inc., owner of Carneco to purchase its Columbus facility.
O'Carroll said Cargill will produce frozen ground beef and fresh ground beef products for retail sale and food service from the Columbus facility.
He said he does not anticipate any changes to Carneco's current operations.
Lopez Foods chief operating officer, Jim English said Carneco operations are in line with Cargill's mainstream business.
Carneco Foods manufactures frozen beef patties, beef chubs (large sealed packages) and modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) fresh ground beef for fast casual restaurants, retail outlets and the food service industry.
Cargill opened several new facilities in its first quarter of 2008, including an addition to its ethanol production capacity in Blair corn processing complex and a new, frozen beef patty production facility in Fresno, California.