- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

FREMONT, Neb. (AP) - Farmer advocacy groups have planned several informational meetings to help farmers if they decide to raise chickens for a plant proposed by Costco Wholesale in eastern Nebraska.

Costco and a Georgia company, Lincoln Premium Poultry, are working with city officials to develop a site south of Fremont. The Greater Fremont Development Council says the plant would create 1,100 new jobs and provide other financial benefits to the community.

Opponents of the plant have said, among other criticisms, that chicken producers in the Southeast have been getting bad deals from poultry processors there, according to the Omaha World-Herald (https://bit.ly/1Q16Imk ). The opponents don’t want that to happen to Nebraska farmers.

“Nebraska farmers and Costco have an opportunity to lead the way to much-needed improvements in the contract poultry industry,” said Carolyn Mugar, executive director of Farm Aid, which has been joined in the information drive by the Nebraska Farmers Union.

A representative of the Costco project said the Nebraska contracts would be different.

Walt Shafer, project manager for Lincoln Premium Poultry, said the Nebraska contracts would guarantee a certain base pay for farmers. Farmers wouldn’t be penalized for delivering fewer live birds of lighter birds, which differs from some other companies’ contracts. The Costco contracts also would have performance incentives, Shafer said.

The meetings are set for Monday at the Nielsen Community Center in West Point, June 21 at the Columbus Library, June 22 at the Saunders County Historical Society in Wahoo and June 23 at the Arlington Multipurpose Senior Center.

Costco representatives have been invited to attend.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com


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