NORFOLK, Neb. -- Norfolk’s first responders were busy the last two weeks with some training exercises thanks in part to an agreement with incoming business Norfolk Crush.

In preparation for construction of its soybean facility, Norfolk Crush acquired approximately 480 acres of farm property northeast of Norfolk, near Nucor. One of the areas that was purchased for the plant contained a farmhouse. Norfolk Crush allowed Norfolk Police and Fire to use the house for training before it is demolished for construction of the plant.

"The Norfolk Fire Division would like to thank Norfolk Crush for allowing us to conduct training in structures located on its property. These structures provide unknown environments and challenges giving firefighters the most realistic training possible better preparing them for the future, said Trever O'Brien, Assistant Fire Chief.

“Opportunities like these cannot be duplicated as every structure brings its own unique challenges allowing us to use critical thinking skills along with physical firefighting skills to help us become better firefighters. We were able to perform firefighter rescue from a basement, roof ventilation, fire attack, search and rescue and many more training exercises in the house and outbuildings at this location," O'Brien said.

Norfolk Police was also able to use the facility for training exercises with its K-9 unit and drone team.

“I appreciate Norfolk Crush making the property and buildings available for the PD to use. Our K-9 team and drone team were able to use the property to do some valuable training scenarios,” said Chad Reiman, Norfolk Police Captain.

“Norfolk Crush was pleased to provide this training opportunity,” said Nick Bowdish, manager of Norfolk Crush.  "The recognition should shine on all the local emergency responders and volunteers who personally sacrifice to provide essential services to our community.  They are the everyday heroes and it is our honor to be joining them as a future business resident of Norfolk.”

The addition of Norfolk Crush was announced in February. The plant is expected to produce 847,000 tons of soybean meal per year for livestock feed markets, 450 million pounds of crude soybean oil per year, and 77,000 tons of pelleted soybean hulls per year. Norfolk officials say the plant will create 50 to 55 jobs.