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Fortigen fertilizer plant huge addition to Geneva

Amidst the back drop of a front-end loader draped with a City of Geneva banner and a pair of anhydrous tank trailers on some fertile Fillmore County farm ground, the largest addition to Geneva in recent memory was celebrated with a ground-breaking ceremony Friday morning.

A group of almost 100, including local residents, dignitaries and even Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, officially welcomed the Fortigen anhydrous ammonia plant to Geneva.  The Fortigen, LLC, production facility, which will be located in the extreme northeast part of the Fillmore County seat, is expected to cost between $72 million and $80 million to build and employ up to 30 full-time people, while producing about 100 tons of fertilizer a day.  Fortigen is a subsidiary of Omaha-based Tetrad, Inc., which also operates as Tetrad Corp., and Tetrad Property Group.  This will be the Nebraska-based company’s first fertilizer manufacturing facility.
“When we talk about growing Nebraska, this is truly what we are talking about,” said Ricketts after being introduced by FCDC and Geneva Chamber of Commerce President Eric Kamler.  “With companies like Fortigen, we will continue to attract people to come back to Nebraska and call it their home.”
Ricketts sandwiched the stop in Geneva between a coffee event at the Crete VFW at 8 a.m., and stops at a luncheon with the York Chamber of Commerce and an Investiture Ceremony in Lincoln.
Local state senator Laura Ebke of Crete is also proud of the new addition to Geneva.
“Thank you Fortigen for coming to Fillmore County,” she said.
Representatives from Congressman Adrian Smith’s office, along with U.S. Senator Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse also attended the 10 a.m., ceremony.  Good neighbor Certified Truck & Trailer provided parking for the event and many other extras.  A reception took place later at the East Side Events Center.
Geneva Mayor Rod Norrie told the group in attendance that city staff began working with Tetrad officials more than a year ago, providing information and encouraging them to locate their plant near Geneva.  Eventually, the Omaha-based company purchased 122 acres of farm ground on the northwest corner of R Street and County Road 14.  The plant will sit on about 20 acres of this property.
“Their (Tetrad) motto has always been ‘what can we do for the community of Geneva’ and not what we can do for them,” Norrie said.  “This is a great way to continue to grow Geneva.  Let’s keep this momentum going.”
At a previous Geneva City Council meeting, Josh Westling, a finance and acquisition manager with Tetrad, has said that when major construction starts at the plant site this spring and summer, up to 150 workers will be on site doing their jobs.  Work on the plant is also expected to take 18 months to complete.  Westling has also commented about how easy the City of Geneva staff and citizens have been to work with.
Tetrad Corp. President and CEO W. David Scott echoed Westling’s sentiments on Friday morning and thanked the Geneva community for welcoming this exciting expansion project, which is directly tied to Fillmore County’s No. 1 business—agriculture.
“We appreciate your hospitality,” Scott said.  “Every one of our company’s staff...they have all said, you have welcomed them (us) with welcoming arms.  We will have a great partnership with this community.” Scott is also the founder and chairman of the board of Tetrad.
On information provided at the ground-breaking, Fortigen was founded in 2015, and will serve agricultural customers through a well-organized distributing system flowing from its new plant in Geneva.  Fortigen will adhere to stringent safety and environmental stewardship in all of its operations.  As the company is situated amongst some of the most productive crop ground in the world, Fortigen is positioned to work with local growers in a hands-on and proactive way. Our goal is to help feed the seven billion on earth through the safe and efficient manufacturing and distribution of fertilizer.
The Geneva City Council recently annexed the land, which is located approximately one-half mile east of U.S. Highway 81 on R Street, the plant will sit on.  This will provide Fortigen officials the opportunity to use TIF funding for the project.  Tetrad Property Group is currently developing the Innovation Campus in Lincoln among other projects.