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·         First broilers roll off new Costco plant in Fremont

·         Coalition seeks moratorium on large livestock operations in Nebraska



First broilers roll off new Costco plant in Fremont

Coalition calls for moratorium on large chicken operations that will supply Fremont plant


Andrew Ozaki, KETV Omaha (NE)

Sep 9, 2019


The first Costco broilers rolled off the line at the new Lincoln Premium Poultry plant in Fremont on Monday.


Jessica Kolterman, a spokeswoman for Lincoln Premium Poultry, said about 25,000 chickens were processed on the opening day. She said when fully operational, the plant will process 2 million chickens a week for Costco stores around the country.


“This project is estimated to have a $1.2 billion impact annually,” said Lincoln Premium Poultry spokeswoman Jessica Kolterman.


But not everyone is excited about large chicken operations needed to supply the plant, ruling the roost.


“We both grew up on farms and this is not farming,” said Lori Heiss. She and her husband Jory, own 36 acres near Valparaiso. A proposed eight-barn chicken operation is being proposed less than a quarter of a mile away from their home.


“There’s a lot of data out there showing these (concentrated animal feeding operation) being close to a house, sicknesses have come up, from the flies and the dust, the particulates, the ammonia. “ Jory Heiss said.


They are also worried about effect on water quality and quantity and the increased traffic that could endanger students at Raymond Central middle school and high school, which located a mile away from the proposed operation.


“It’s just a stupid spot for it,” Jory Heiss said.


About 150 other people mostly neighbors agree. They support a statewide moratorium on these large scale livestock operations until regulations, such as ˝ mile buffer zones and setbacks can be established.


“There need to be regulations now,” Jory Heiss said.


Kolterman said they view chicken operations as another other agricultural livestock operation.


“One hundred chickens equals one cow,” Kolterman said.


She said Lincoln Premium Poultry’s policies for its producer are stricter than state regulations. She is concerned any moratorium on livestock production would hurt the state’s biggest industry.


“Anytime anyone is talking about halting the largest economic driver in your state, I think you should be concerned,” Kolterman said.


The Heiss’ said they are not against agriculture or Costco. They said these industrial operations just need to be located away from homes and schools.


“We can take any agriculture you can bring, just not this form,” Jory Heiss said.


A coalition which includes Nebraska Communities United, Community Advocates for Responsible Agriculture, RC Communities United, Elmwood First, Lancaster Hills Alliance, Dodge County Farmers Union, GC Resolve, Nebraskans for Peace, Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light and the Nebraska Sierra Club have started an online petition calling for a moratorium..  


more, including video report [1:41 min.]



Coalition seeks moratorium on large livestock operations in Nebraska


Matt Olberding, Lincoln Journal Star

via Hastings Tribune (NE) - Sep 10, 2019


A coalition of citizen and environmental groups is calling for a moratorium on large livestock operations in the state.


At a media event in rural Valparaiso on Monday, the groups unveiled a petition seeking support to put a temporary stop to what they call "factory farms."


Randy Ruppert, a Nickerson resident who has been a frequent critic of the Costco poultry processing plant in Fremont, said such a moratorium is needed because state and local zoning laws are inadequate to deal with large confined animal feeding operations.


Most county zoning regulations "are 40 years out of date," said Ruppert, who helped to start Nebraska Communities United in 2015.


The event was at Pine Crest Farms Bed & Breakfast in advance of a Saunders County Planning & Zoning Commission hearing Monday night in Wahoo on a proposed poultry farm near Morse Bluff that would raise chickens for the Costco plant that started up this month.


The bed and breakfast also is about 3 miles from the site of a proposed poultry farm in northwest Lancaster County.


That operation, near Northwest 27th Street and West Ashland Road, would have 380,000 chickens in eight barns. It is tentatively scheduled for a public hearing before the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission on Oct. 2, after having two earlier scheduled hearings delayed as it tried to work out issues with county roads in the area.


It's the second poultry operation proposed in Lancaster County that would raise chickens for the Costco plant.


An operation that would have 190,000 chickens in four barns at 13350 West Wittstruck Road, near Crete, was approved last year. However, that approval was appealed in Lancaster County District Court, and a ruling is still pending after a trial last month.


A citizen task force that met for nearly six months has recommended changes to Lancaster County's rural zoning rules that would make it harder to site a large livestock operation in the county.


Many of the proposed regulations the task force recommended are...