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CHAPMAN, Neb. — Norm Krug pops out from the grays and browns of the gravel parking lot and nearby grain bins to wave hello to a lone passerby.

If the driver of the red International tractor missed the greeting, Krug's yellow Preferred Popcorn shirt and yellow truck did the trick.

The driver returns the wave, turns left and rumbles into a field.

“That's my tractor,” Krug said. “And he's turning into my field.”

Preferred Popcorn was born 13 years ago in that field, which like the plant is just south of U.S. Highway 30 between Central City and Grand Island.

Krug raised popcorn most of his life in the shadows of the vacant processing plant where his father once worked. In 1998, Krug organized a group to purchase the plant, now renamed Preferred Popcorn.

The company — owned by a partnership made up of Krug, two local farmers and the Aurora Co-op — is one of the top popcorn suppliers in the United States, and most of the product is shipped far beyond Preferred's home base in Merrick County.

View the full article on www.omaha.com »

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