COLUMBUS, Neb. – Cargill announced the company is converting its Columbus, Neb., ground beef processing facility into a cooked meats facility while it shifts ground beef production to its processing plants in Wisconsin and Texas. Cargill expects to invest $111 million in the project.

The plant conversion is slated to begin in early December. Cooked meat production is expected start in mid-2016. Ground beef production will shift to processing plants in Butler, Wis., and Fort Worth, Texas. Cargill said roughly $27 million will be used to install new production lines at the Butler and Fort Worth facilities. The company said the new lines will increase overall capacity, improve efficiency and enhance Cargill’s ability to serve its foodservice customers.

“This project, especially the investment we’re making in Columbus, is significant and exciting, and it represents our long-term commitment to current and future Cargill customers, as well as to the community,” said John Niemann, president of Wichita, Kan.-based Cargill Turkey & Cooked Meats. “When completed, our Columbus plant will give us a variety of cooked meat processing capabilities we currently don’t have, and those new capabilities will provide our customers with more options to help them grow their businesses.”

Cargill said 80 of the 250 positions at the Columbus plant will be affected by the conversion. The company said affected employees have received information about employment opportunities at Cargill facilities in the region. Once fully operational, the cooked meats facility will employ approximately the same number of workers currently employed at the Columbus plant.