PoultryUSA - June 2018 - 18
18 ❙ WATTPoultryUSA
$400 MILLION CHICKEN OPERATION
pany reflects the values of Costco, and we are
excited to partner with them in developing a
fantastic product for Costco's members."
However, the operation will not supply
all of Costco's chicken and it will still have
other suppliers, Shafer said. This plant will
process birds at 6 pounds, 4 ounces live
weight to provide the specific size, weight
and price Costco wants.
When asked if the project is a prototype
for future facilities supplying Costco, Shafer
replied: "Who knows."
"My goal is to make this successful," he
said. "If we're successful, which I know we
will be, I think it will throw the subject up
for debate in the future."
Walt Shafer, chief operations officer of Lincoln Premium Poultry,
and Doug Oertwich, a farmer from near Pilger, Nebraska, who
will grow birds for the new poultry operation. Austin Alonzo
Shafer said the site works because of its location in
the country as well as the ready supply of grains and
Fremont's central location in the continent and its ability
to supply depots around the country works for Costco. In the
beginning, Shafer said most of the product will supply locations in the western U.S. Also beneficial for logistics, and
unlike operations in the South and on the Atlantic coast, corn
and soybeans for the estimated 500 chicken houses needed to
supply the plant will come directly from the state.
The estimated total cost of
the new poultry complex
in Fremont, Nebraska.
Although the state lacks a tradition of growing
poultry, Doug Oertwich, a farmer from near Pilger,
Nebraska, who will be running a breeder operation for
LPP, said the prospect of raising birds is appealing to the
state's crop farmers.
Raising chickens creates an opportunity for farmers
to bring in more, diversified income and generate paying work for family who would otherwise leave the farm.
Doug Oertwich said his own son, Nicholas Oertwich, is
coming back home to raise birds with him. Crop farmers
also relish the prospect of creating their own, organic fertilizer and spreading it on their crops.
Training the farmers
While Nebraska is known for a tradition of crop
farming and cattle ranching, its farmers are unfamiliar
with raising chickens. LPP was tasked with recruiting
farmers from the surrounding region and training them
Oertwich served on an advisory board formed to
recruit potential growers and help LPP and Costco understand the nuances of working in the state. After years of
work, LPP recruited 125 farmers to put up chicken houses
and grow birds on contract.
To train the new farmers, LPP is working with Auburn
University to offer grower seminars on key concepts like
house ventilation and animal husbandry. In the near future, a model chicken house will be built near the processing plant in Fremont. Shafer said it will host classes on
growing in a working classroom featuring the exact same
equipment growers will use.
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ June 2018