How JBS USA’s $4 million investment in Nebraska will be divided will be determined largely by the local management team at each JBS facility in conjunction with community leaders.
Last week, JBS USA announced plans to invest $4 million in Nebraska to help local communities respond to the coronavirus and invest in the future. That money will be divided between Grand Island and Omaha, where the company has plants.
The investment is part of a national JBS USA initiative called Hometown Strong, which totals $50 million.
According to the news release, the support will include donations to alleviate food insecurity, strengthen long-term community infrastructure and well-being, and support COVID-19 emergency response and relief efforts.
Tim Schellpeper, president of JBS USA Fed Beef, said Monday that people across the country are being affected by the coronavirus pandemic. But in some ways, rural communities have been affected “in a greater way. And so we created the Hometown Strong program because frankly we feel deeply rooted to these local communities. In the case of Grand Island, our plant’s been there since 1965.
“We want to be able to help these local communities,” Schellpeper said. Each community is unique in what its need are, “and so our local management team is working with local community leaders to figure out what’s best for Grand Island.”
Zack Ireland, general manager of the Grand Island JBS plant, is one of the people on the local management team.
In short, Schellpeper refers to the priorities of Hometown Strong as infrastructure, food security and COVID-19.
Ireland and local officials will “determine the best way that we can impact the community נhopefully in a lasting way. But it’s very much a local decision within those three areas,” Schellpeper said.
All of the funds will be committed by the end of the year.
Schellpeper, who lives in Greeley, Colo., is a native of northeast Nebraska.
He was asked if the $4 million is actually a donation.
“Well, we refer to it as an investment because we’re in this for the long haul,” he said. “We’re proud members of the Grand Island community. So if it’s good for Grand Island, it’s good for all of us as community members. And so we see it as an investment.”
The company is not ready to announce yet how the $4 million will be carved up between Grand Island and Omaha.
JBS USA Fed Beef includes the Grand Island fresh beef facility. The Omaha fresh beef facility is part of JBS USA Regional Beef.
The Hometown Strong commitments are in addition to efforts JBS USA has made this year “to protect employees and ensure their job security amid the global pandemic,” says last week’s news release.
Nationwide, JBS USA has invested more than $100 million this year to “enhance safeguards for team members and nearly $100 million to reward them with thank you bonuses and increased wages,” says the news release. “This includes hiring more than 1,000 new team members to conduct additional, around-the-clock sanitation and cleaning services, and to provide education, training and enforcement of COVID-19 preventive measures.”
Schellpeper said he would like to thank the Grand Island community for its ongoing support.
“But I really want to thank those more than 3,000 workers who come into our facility — our teammates — in Grand Island,” he said. “I couldn’t be more proud of their efforts on dealing with the pandemic, and what they’ve done for our country.”
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