Welcome to Nebraska, Fortigen!

breaking ground on the fortigen plantThese days, Governor Pete Ricketts has a busy schedule.

After all, when you’re tasked with welcoming new manufacturers to Nebraska, there’s no shortage of openings and groundbreaking ceremonies to attend. We wrote earlier about the Norland plant expansion, and now it’s time to celebrate more business headed to our state.

Just last week, Ricketts attended the groundbreaking ceremony at the future site of Fortigen, an anhydrous ammonia fertilizer manufacturing plant that will be located in Geneva, Nebraska. Eric Kamler, President of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, told KWBE that the plant would be worth roughly 70 to 75 million dollars: “To put that in comparison, Geneva currently has a value of $105 million, so this will be a very big boom to our local economy.”

Fortigen is owned by Tetrad Corporation of Omaha. If the name sounds familiar, Tetrad Corporation is part-owner of Tetrad Property Group, the company that is developing the Innovation Campus and other projects in Lincoln. According to Joshua Westling, a representative of Tetrad Corporation, this will be the first fertilizer plant the company has built.

Without getting into too many nitty-gritty details, the company will be manufacturing anhydrous ammonia, which is a non-liquid form (anhydrous means without water) of the substance that is injected into the ground, prized by farmers because of its high nitrogen content.

According to the University of Minnesota Extension, anhydrous ammonia fertilizers are fairly easy to apply and generally readily available. The substance itself is a gaseous material that is compressed and stored as a liquid, so it is manufactured by reacting nitrogen from the air with hydrogen, usually from a natural gas, in the presence of a catalyst at high temperature and high pressure. When the product is finished, it can be the source of nitrogen for other commercial fertilizers or used for direct application and injected into the ground.

Last week, over one hundred people gathered to welcome the manufacturer, which is expected to employ up to 30 people full-time and produce 100 tons of fertilizer a day, says The Nebraska Signal. “When we talk about growing Nebraska, this is truly what we are talking about,” said Ricketts. “With companies like Fortigen, we will continue to attract people to come back to Nebraska and call it their home.”

Westling has been working with the City of Geneva for several years to plan the major construction, which is also expected to boost the local Geneva economy during the eighteen months of work it will take to complete the facility. Tetrad CEO W. David Scott thanked the City of Geneva for their willingness to work with the company. “We appreciate your hospitality,” Scott said at the opening. “Every one of our company’s staff . . . they have all said, you have welcomed us with welcoming arms. We will have a great partnership with this community.”

It’s certainly an exciting few weeks for expansion here in Nebraska, and we feel fortunate to witness these developments!

Photo credit: Fillmore County Development