A groundbreaking ceremony for a new poultry plant to process chicken for Costco stores was held on June 19, with the future plant expected to open in April 2019 in Fremont, Nebraska.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and local leaders were present for the ceremony. The plant project is valued at $300 million and is expected to generate an overall economic impact of $1.2 billion annually, create about 800 new jobs and connect Costco to a network of poultry producers in Eastern Nebraska.

In addition to the poultry plant, the project will include a hatchery and feed mill facility.

 “This is a monumental day for Costco, Fremont, and the State of Nebraska,” Ricketts said in a press release.  “Costco has a reputation for being a great corporate citizen, and today’s groundbreaking highlights what’s to come: good paying jobs, more opportunity for our local farmers, and the all-important expansion of value-added agriculture in our state.”

The plant will be operated by Lincoln Premium Poultry, and will utilize the latest technology that will enable about 2 million chickens to be processed on a weekly basis.

“We’re thrilled Costco chose to partner with our community and region to expand its business model and launch this new endeavor here,” said Cecilia Harry, Executive Director of the Greater Fremont Development Council.  “We celebrate the new jobs and investment and the impact this will have on our agricultural industries – whether its helping area farmers diversify their businesses, encouraging the next generation of farmers, or growing firms that will support facility operations.”

Over the past year, Costco has worked with a multitude of partners to locate the facility in the Fremont area.  Those partners include the Greater Fremont Development Council, City of Fremont, Greater Omaha Chamber Economic Development Partnership, Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Nebraska Department of Agriculture, and Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska.

Opportunities for farmers

Complementing the region’s existing industries, the farmer network needed to support a poultry plant of this scale brings an opportunity for farmers to diversify their portfolios and expand existing operations.

“This facility will create an opportunity for diversification for farmers in the Greater Fremont area.  The producers who choose to build poultry houses will have an opportunity to add another income source to their operation.  All row crop farmers will have a new market for corn and soybeans which will be utilized in the poultry rations,” said Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach.  “Costco has also indicated a willingness to be a great partner for Nebraska as a whole, going above and beyond all environmental requirements and offering new and innovative contractual relationships that will be revolutionary for the poultry industry.”

 Fremont Mayor Scott Getzschman said the city is already experiencing economic growth because of the project, and he expects that growth to continue as the facilities are built and operations begin.