FREMONT, Neb. (KMTV) — The Lincoln Premium Poultry plant in Fremont has been open for just over two months and it's turning lovers of cows in the Beef State in to lovers of poultry.
"You're not going to take the beef state out of Nebraska and we're not trying to," said Jessica Kolterman, the Director of Corporate and External Affairs for Lincoln Premium Poultry. "But at the end of the day it's a new product and a new way for some in Nebraska to diversify their operation."
The brand-new plant processes 40-percent of Costco's supply nationwide, which totals up to 100,000 chickens a day. The plant's goal is to process 2 million chickens per week.
"The poultry industry has grown exponentially in the state of Nebraska but compared to parts of the country where poultry is prevalent, we're still a very small player," Kolterman said.
To supply the poultry, the plant's in agreement with nearly 100 farms across the region, with each one raising 60,000-350,000 chickens until they're six pounds in size.
"For me it was an easy choice," said Bob Missel, chairman of the Dodge County Board of Supervisors. "It was farm families who had existing farms that already had operations and it was complementing their business." Missel said the new plant and its 660 employees have been a bright spot for the community.
"Fremont is around 26,000 people, Dodge County is around 34,000 and you add that many employees to the mix, that moves the needle," Missel said.
With support from farms across the region, the plant is not running out of poultry any time soon.
"Our operation has the poultry we need," Kolterman said. "We have a backup list of other farmers who are interested so we'll have all the poultry we need for the facility."
Kolterman said raising the chickens gives farmers an option for stable income during off seasons for corn and soy. The individual farms are in exclusive contracts with Costco and Lincoln Premium Poultry and each farm contract runs for 15 years.