In this file:
· Costco chicken plant starts operations this week
… The plant, which is run by Lincoln Premium Poultry, will provide the corporation with around 2 million birds per week, about 40% of its U.S. needs…
· Groups call for moratorium on CAFOs in Nebraska
… The petition is a response to Costco and it’s Lincoln Premium Poultry business in Fremont, Nebraska, which includes a 75,000-sq.-ft. hatchery, a 250,000-sq.-ft. processing facility, a feed mill and other improvements…
Costco chicken plant starts operations this week
Collin Spilinek, Fremont Tribune (NE)
Sep 13, 2019
A Costco chicken processing complex in south Fremont started its full production this Monday.
The plant, which is run by Lincoln Premium Poultry, will provide the corporation with around 2 million birds per week, about 40% of its U.S. needs.
The products will be sold in warehouses in Omaha and Lincoln, as well as far west as Alaska and Hawaii.
The complex ran a test bird for practice on Sept. 4, with Chief Operating Officer Walt Shafer walking through the facility with equipment operators to make sure everything was working correctly, LPP spokeswoman Jessica Kolterman said.
Kolterman said the equipment came together well considering the scale of the operation, which she said will provide an annual economic impact of $1.2 billion.
“One vendor from overseas commented to me, “In all my years doing this, I have never seen a commissioning come together so smoothly,’” she said. “That means a lot to us. We do have some minor kinks to work out, but we will get there.”
There are currently around 500 employees working at the plant, and there are plans to have up to 500 more working the processing facility, feed mill, hatchery, live operations and corporate, Kolterman said.
Kolterman said around 97% of the current employees are from Fremont and the surrounding communities, which have also seen the creation of new businesses as a result of the plant.
“Anecdotal comments on why they chose to come work for us have run the gamut, but many have cited wanting a shorter commute, not wanting to ever be caught outside of their community again during a flood event, wanting more opportunities for growth, better pay, benefits and the like,” she said...
Groups call for moratorium on CAFOs in Nebraska
By Erica Shaffer, MEAT+POULTRY
LINCOLN, Neb. – A coalition of community and environmental groups have launched a Change.org petition calling for a moratorium on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in Nebraska.
The petition is a response to Costco and it’s Lincoln Premium Poultry business in Fremont, Nebraska, which includes a 75,000-sq.-ft. hatchery, a 250,000-sq.-ft. processing facility, a feed mill and other improvements. Costco is partnering with poultry growers to supply chickens to the Fremont plant, and it’s the prospect of hundreds more poultry barns that has raised concerns in the local community.
The petition states, “Costco’s CAFOs are taking over Eastern Nebraska and changing our way of life. Costco created Lincoln Premium Poultry to build 520 massive barns to supply poultry for its processing facility in Fremont, with each barn holding as many as 47,500 birds per flock, up to six flocks per year. The companies claim to be committed to Nebraska farmers, yet an out-of-state investor has applied to construct ¼ of the required chicken houses. Furthermore, Governor Ricketts has already announced the next mega-Costco project for Central Nebraska. We need to address this statewide issue before it gets further out of the public’s control.”
Jessica Kolterman, a spokeswoman for Lincoln Premium Poultry, said in a statement, “It’s unfortunate that people not familiar with large scale food production have developed fears related to our industry.
“We will continue to educate the public about our farmer partners and our new facility. That’s one of the reasons we have built a viewing corridor in our plant and a viewing room at one of the family operations. We’re hopeful that education can help bridge the gap between agriculture and rural and suburban areas.”
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and Steve Wellman, director of the Nebraska Dept. of Agriculture, also issued a statement that blamed out-of-state anti-agriculture groups for organizing opposition to CAFOs while expressing support for agriculture in the state...
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