An award of excellence in economic development was presented by U.S. Representative Adrian Smith to Landmark Snacks on Wednesday after a tour of the facility with Beatrice officials.

The jerky and meat snacks production facility, which opened in April in Beatrice, is recognized for surpassing its three-year growth plan in a matter of months.

Owners Chad and Courtney Lottman said the company started with 25 to 30 employees with an eventual goal of 40 or 50. Now, they employ 50 employees and are hiring.

"Our smokehouses are working 24 hours," Courtney said. "We hadn't anticipated we'd be at max capacity."

The facility exclusively produces ready-to-eat meat bars and snacks under the name "Epic," but the Lottmans said they expect to provide additional, more diverse products as time goes on and as the business continues to grow. Chad Lottman said Landmark Snacks produces about 60,000 bars each day.

In presenting the award to the Landmark Snacks staff and owners, Smith thanked the team for its work.

"You help make products that other people are willing to buy," Smith said. "Your efforts are required to make quality products not only for Epic but for their customers."

The same Excellence in Economic Development Award was given by Smith's office to seven other businesses in Nebraska towns.

"We did this because we want to recognize small town businesses that are taking an innovative approach to build the economy in their local communities," Smith said. "I think what you're doing is what our (U.S.) founders had in mind. This is a great example of creating an opportunity for the future...We need you. We need you well into the future."

The Lottmans said they're honored and excited to receive the award, especially as a new business.

"It's homegrown," Smith said of what stands out to him about Landmark Snacks. "Yet, they really have a focus that I consider to be on a global scale with this kind of product."

Chad Lottman said Whole Foods is the top retailer of Epic products.

The Lottmans also owns C and C Processing in Diller and its specialty meat retail store under the same name in Beatrice.

C and C opened in 1994. This year, the company ceased its deer, beef and pork processing services. Chad Lottman said his sister and brother-in-law, Shelly and Jesse Smith, opened Diller Locker Company to continue those services.

Both C and C retail locations continue to sell specialty meat and other products.

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