Expo Gives PCDC Opportunity to Share Phelps County Opportunities

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Food processing and poultry businesses may be “scrambling” to Phelps County after a recent promotional trip to Atlanta, Ga., to the International Production and Processing Expo, the world's largest annual exposition for poultry, feed and meat technology.

Phelps County Development Corporation Executive Director Ron Tillery traveled to the expo in late January as part of a team that included representatives from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Nebraska Public Power District, the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (A-FAN) and the cities of York and Scottsbluff.

Tillery’s goal at the expo was to make contacts in the industry so they will remember Phelps County when it comes time to expand or grow their business.

“Economic development operates to a large degree on relationships,” Tillery said. “When a project does bubble up to the surface, they will think of you if you have built a relationship. That’s why we go to these kind of shows and try to develop relationships and nurture them over time. And, over time they will lead to something.”

An estimated 30,000 people attended the expo. While there, Tillery made connections with 18-20 representatives in various industries, including Nebraska companies like Chief Industries and QC supply, the Schuyler business that is part of building the 500 poultry barns needed for new Costco/Lincoln Premium Poultry project in Fremont.

These are the kinds of projects that are needed in Phelps County, Tillery said of the Fremont poultry project.

“Livestock is the best value adder to the commodities that we produce here in Phelps County,” Tillery said. “By feeding corn and soybeans to livestock, we add value to the crops that we produce. I think there are going to be new and more livestock opportunities in the future, and we need to be well prepared to accommodate that.”

Several Phelps County farmers have already reached out to Tillery requesting be kept in the loop on any new livestock opportunities that arise from his attendance at recent trade expos, including PCDC’s connections made at the World Dairy Expo.

While in Atlanta, Tillery also met with representatives of a packaging company whose client list includes BD Medical.

“One of the things we always look for is vendors or suppliers to businesses we have here,” Tillery said. “When you have a company that produces so many units, like BD, it may make sense for vendors to establish operations nearby.”

The expo also allowed Tillery to meet with a regional manufacturer (within 60 miles of Holdrege) that is considering expanding to a new location to be sure Phelps County stays on its radar. He also visited with three site selection consultants.

“All in all, we were busy and had very productive conversations,” Tillery said about the Atlanta trip.

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