This post is part of an ongoing series of manufacturer profiles. The blogs will cover some of the many manufacturers in the state of Nebraska. Check back later for more posts in the series. To see previous posts in the series, click here.
Today, we’re shining the spotlight on a manufacturer who embodies everything that’s good about Nebraskan manufacturing. We’d like you to meet Nebraska Plastics, also known as the manufacturer of the Country Estate product line.
Family-owned, Nebraska Plastics has experienced extraordinary growth and holds an important place in the history of Nebraska’s economy. Last week, they celebrated their 70th anniversary in Cozad, Nebraska.
This company has quite the storied history, beginning during World War II. According to the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce, Milo German began manufacturing irrigation pipe with experimental plastic materials in 1945. Thanks to the war, aluminum was in short supply, so they became a plastics company by default. “It was a fortunate turn of events because irrigation tubes manufactured from plastic materials provided surprising benefits; they were resistant to farm chemicals, fertilizers, rust, rot, and electrolytic corrosion,” says the company.
Unfortunately, tragedy hit when Milo crashed his plane and was killed along with two others. His brother, Rex, quit teaching school to begin a career as a businessman and eventually took over Nebraska Plastics in 1957.
In terms of innovation, the company made strides for plastics companies everywhere when they invented above-ground PVC gated irrigation pipe, along with developing the first above-ground “weatherable” PVC compound. After refining formulations for the pipes using polyvinyl chloride resins and state-of-the-art additives, they found that the pipes could withstand sun, cold, fertilizers, farm chemicals, and anything else a rugged environment could throw at them.
Today, Country Estate Fence Products are the most advanced, innovative, and cost-effective fencing material in the world, not just in Nebraska. As such, the company has grown dramatically. When Rex took over in 1957, Nebraska Plastics had 30 employees working in an 11,000 square foot building. Today, they employ around 100 people in a 91,000 square foot building managed by Rex’s son, Paul German.
As they’ve grown, their client list has too. Paul Harvey, Tom Selleck, Wayne Newton, Mel Gibson, Terry Bowden, Whitney Houston, and long list of sports figures, actors, and more have installed Country Estate products in their homes. If you’re visiting Opryland, Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Hollywood Park Race Track, Hidden Valley Ranch, the Budweiser Brewery, or Sea World, take a look around you, because there are Country Estate fences, decks, or irrigation products around somewhere.
Most importantly, though? Rex and his wife Lois still live on the family farm east of Cozad, and can look out and see the very first vinyl fence in the world around their fields of corn and soybeans. Now that’s what we call a good view!
Congratulations to this spectacular heritage company for seventy years of business and manufacturing right here in Nebraska! We look forward to following along for another successful seventy to come.
Photo credit: Country Estate