SCHUYLER — Colfax County residents turned out in hordes when invited to attend an open house showing off eight chicken broiler barns that will house thousands of birds being raised for Costco.
The gathering was held last month at Josh, Clint and Jered Faltys’ property, which is positioned between Schuyler and Howells.
Approximately 1,000 people packed onto the rural land to learn more about the overall operation, according to Jessica Kolterman, external affairs spokeswoman for Lincoln Premium Poultry.
“It was a pretty incredible event,” Kolterman said. “So many families and children attended and asked all these great questions. We ended up doing a talk about the poultry operation and so there was a lot of people learning a lot more about the operation.”
Lincoln Premium Poultry is the company behind the growing operation for the Costco/Lincoln Premium Poultry Chicken Processing Plant being erected in the south part of Fremont.
Kolterman said the plant, which will employ about 1,000 people and is expected to have a $1.2 billion state impact annually, is slated to open just after Labor Day.
Kolterman said a handful of Colfax County families have seized the opportunity to make the investment in raising chickens. She said growers in surrounding Butler and Platte counties have shown more interest.
Across the region, chicken barns span throughout about 20 Nebraska counties and four to five counties in Iowa, she said, adding that the typical four-barn setup costs between $2 million and $2.5 million, with a rate of return on the investment being about 15 years.
The Fremont facility, the first of its kind, will account for about 40% of Costco's chicken products in North America. That includes its standard rotisserie chicken, along with breasts, thighs and other chicken goods.
Kolterman said the investment made by Colfax County farming families has enabled them to diversify their operations and provide an alternative stream of revenue for their families.
“I just think that it has been received positively in the way it gives them (producers) the opportunity to add to their farm in a variety of ways,” Kolterman said. “First, you are diversifying, and secondly, with this project in the region, we are bringing a bigger demand for soybeans and corn, which should create a more competitive marketplace.”
The bird operation for the chicken-processing facility consists of 432 broiler barns, 24 pullet barns and 64 breeder barns, for a total of 520 barns being erected throughout the region.