NEBRASKA CITY – Mayor Bryan Bequette said the city is excited about potential jobs and economic growth linked to Goodlife Agriculture’s plans to expand Atlantic salmon production at an industrial site north of town.

He said a $178 million project is proposed to build the facility, which would provide about 56 new jobs at $28 an hour.

Bequette: “This would be the largest private business that we’ve seen go in for probably decades.”

Nebraska City welcomed Keil Vanderveen and Nebraska Vegetable and Protein’s startup in 2022. The aquaculture process was forecast to produce 3,000 pounds of freshwater Atlantic salmon per month, as well as leafy green vegetables, lettuces and kale.

The expansion plan proposes 6.6 million pounds of salmon from a 27-acre facility using wells on the Missouri River bottom. A discharge permit to the river is pending with the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy.

Bequette: “I’m happy to see a major expansion. Of course, part of it was Kiel VanderVeen showing that it could be done, which I believe he has shown a smaller scale. So all the folks in that business raising salmon, they’ve said, ‘hey, let’s make it bigger.’

At Monday’s city council meeting, VanderVeen said he expects the facility to have a five-year economic impact for Nebraska City and 15-miles at just under $500 million.

City commissioners offered their blessing to the application for a $1 million loan through the community development block grant program with 50 percent loan forgiveness if job targets are met. Kelly Gentrup of Southeast Nebraska Development District said 22 jobs created would meet national grant objectives.

Bequette said Nebraska City is proud to have a hometown entrepreneur taking the next big step.