FREMONT, NEB. – Costco Wholesale Corp. plans to build a company-owned poultry processing plant in Greater Fremont. The Greater Fremont Development Council said in a news release that the project would lead to an investment of $180 million and the creation of 1,100 new jobs.
“We are delighted that Costco is strongly considering the Greater Fremont area and Dodge County for its new facility,” said Cecilia Harry, executive director of the Greater Fremont Development Council. “Costco has an excellent reputation as a responsible American corporation. This poultry operation would be an economic boost to the region, providing jobs, economic diversity for family farms and an opportunity for younger farmers to stay in the area.”
The council said Costco chose Fremont due to its “many positives,” which include the quality of the workforce, available land, a supportive farm community willing to grow chickens and proximity to customers and suppliers, among other factors.
“The company would work directly with local farmers to provide locally- raised poultry, resulting in expanded economic growth and diversity,” the council said in the release. “The established farmer network will bring an additional $136 million in capital investment to the rural economy.”
Corn and soybeans stand to gain from Costco’s presence in the community. The company plans to buy 300,000 bus of corn and 3,000 tons of soybean meal from local growers.
But the project has met with resistance from members of the surrounding community. Local news reports state that council officials kept mum about Costco’s involvement in the development deal that was dubbed “Project Rawhide.” Opponents also have expressed concerns about the impact of the plant on schools and the environment, but the project is just getting started.
“There is more due diligence to be completed by Costco representatives, and there will be a number of open public meetings to discuss the project,” Ms. Harry said. “Costco representatives also will reach out to interested growers throughout the region to discuss details of the grower network.”Costco currently operates a meat and poultry processing plant in Tracy, Calif.