The Greater Fremont Development Council announced that Costco has filed a petition seeking rezoning and annexation of land it needs for a chicken processing facility in Nebraska.
The project, better known as Project Rawhide, has been in the news because the Village Board of Nickerson, NE had refused to approve the same project on grounds of pollution and overcrowding.
This despite the fact that the economic development benefits from this facility included the creation of 1,100 new jobs, along with an investment of $180 million for the region.
The project will offer opportunities for workers to gain entry into the job market and further enhance their skill sets in our state’s top industry – agriculture.
Costco Wholesale Corporation is the company that would get the final chicken product from this proposed facility that would be operated by Lincoln Premium Poultry, which is connected to Crider Foods in Georgia.
Since being rejected by the Village Board of Nickerson, the Greater Fremont Development Council and other partners associated with the project have been trying hard to ensure that the project stays in the Greater Fremont/Dodge County region, ensuring an additional tax base of $63 million. The established farmer network with 75 to 100 growers would bring an additional $136 million in capital investment to the rural economy.
Area corn and soybean growers also would benefit from a new buyer of their product. The company plans to purchase the 300,000 bushels of corn and 3,000 tons of soybean meal required per week from local providers.
Costco chose Dodge County based on a number of factors, including the quality of the workforce, the cost of doing business, available land, a supportive farm community willing to grow chickens, proximity to customers and suppliers, the local availability of corn and soy meal for feeding the poultry and the overall quality of life.
The Greater Fremont Development Council worked on this project in collaboration with the Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership, Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Dodge County Government, Fremont Department of Utilities, and City of Fremont, among others.
Fremont Mayor Scott Getzschman said in a statement that “We are thrilled that we were able to help Costco find an appropriate location in the Greater Fremont area.” Mayor Getzschman added that “It speaks to all the regional assets we have that will make this project successful and we are grateful for Costco’s commitment to the relationships they have developed throughout this process.”
Unlike the Nickerson Village Board, local authorities in Fremont seem more eager to approve this project. Fremont City Council president Larry Johnson noted that the location at Hills Farm with its infrastructure and industrial character is a great fit for the project. “We look forward to playing our role in the approval process,” added Johnson.