GOTHENBURG, Neb. — A project billed by the developers as the biggest single private investment west of Lincoln in recent years has landed in Gothenburg.

The community celebrated the announcement of the $750 million Meadowlark Plant on Wednesday. Founder Josh Westling says the liquid fertilizer facility is going in Gothenburg largely because of its people.

“I don’t think we chose Gothenburg, I think Gothenburg chose us,” Westling said.

Talks started because of the city’s location near critical resources.

“And then when we came and talked to the people of the city of Gothenburg, their energy was infectious," Westling said. "We said, ‘gosh, this is the kind of place you want to do business.”

The idea for the operation grew from a desire to address challenges plaguing farmers.

“They shouldn’t have to be faced with finding, or sourcing or utilizing fertilizer," Westling said. "That they could go get fertilizer and have it available to them locally and hopefully save some money in the process, that was important to us.”

In contrast to the traditional method of using natural gas, Meadowlark will use renewable electricity and wastewater to create the hydrogen that’s needed to make fertilizer. Nebraska Public Power District is investing $100 million to make the renewable project work.

“Transitioning to a carbon-free world, it seems like everybody is doing that," Westling said. "If we can be thought leaders in that, we want to do it.”

The plant will generate more than 500,000 tons of fertilizer and 20 million gallons of diesel exhaust fluid annually. It’s expected to be sold to farmers within a 150-mile radius of the plant, which is good news according to Gov. Jim Pillen.

“Everything we can do to decrease our costs, everything we can do to reduce the use of a gallon of diesel or fossil fuels, it’s good for the planet and it’s good for business,” Pillen said.

Mike Bacon is the project lead for the Gothenburg Improvement Company, which spent six years recruiting Meadowlark to Dawson County.

“We have a lot of people supporting this project," Bacon said. "It really takes a village. It’s not one person who pulls this off, it’s a community. And this is a great community.”

Pillen says it’s a model the rest of Nebraska can follow.

“The more we land these, the more we win and that just continues to create more momentum," Pillen said. "Soon, the world’s going to find out this is the best place in the world to do business.”

Meadowlark pledges to hire 50 full-time workers and expects the plant to generate nearly 250 different indirect jobs. It’s scheduled to be completed towards the end of 2025.