Massive Costco chicken plant up and running despite concerns about the facility and suppliers

FREMONT — Costco’s rotisserie chickens are so popular that fans of the roasted fowl started their own Facebook page, a page that now has more than 17,000 followers. The cooked birds, which cost $4.99 apiece, are such a draw for the warehouse retailer that it chose Nebraska to launch its first venture in growing and processing its own chickens for its stores. Continue reading

Nebraska Farmers, Ranchers Push for Green New Deal Policies

LINCOLN, Neb. – Agriculture is the fourth largest producer of climate pollution, and farmers and ranchers from across the U.S. have launched a campaign urging Congress to pass the Green New Deal, which supports regenerative family farm and ranching practices over industrial scale agribusiness.  Continue reading

It's only $4.99. But Costco's rotisserie chicken comes at a huge price

At the back of Costco's stores, past the televisions, jewelry, jumbo-sized ketchup jugs and tubs of mixed nuts, is one of the retailer's most prized items: The rotisserie chicken that costs just $4.99.   Continue reading

In Nebraska, fight over Costco chicken farms escalates

As Nebraska’s brand-new Costco chicken processing plant begins sending birds down the line in Fremont, residents are escalating their protest against the company by pushing for a statewide moratorium on new concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Continue reading

One Private Equity Fund Could Own a Quarter of the Chicken Houses for Costco’s Nebraska Project

Three years ago, Costco announced plans to create a vertically integrated chicken business that would supply 40 percent of the retailer’s chicken needs. The corporation is working to build a feed mill and processing plant in Fremont, Nebraska that will create up to 1,000 jobs and strike growing contracts with 70-100 farmers, introducing large-scale poultry production to the state. Continue reading

Regenerative farming could be good for soil and pocketbook

Farmers set a course for the future, by going back to the way it was.  For Clay Govier, that means raising crops beyond the ones he’s always grown. “It's tough to make a good living growing corn and soybeans anymore,” he said.  He'd like to grow peas, kidney beans, sunflowers, and other crops too.  “We really need to get back to growing food people eat,” the Broken Bow farmer said. At the same time, he wants to integrate livestock and manure instead of synthetic fertilizer, while capturing more carbon.   “Improving the soil. A lot of people talk about sustainability. I don't want to sustain what we have,” Govier said, saying sustainability falls short when farmers can be regenerative. Continue reading

Project taps citizen scientists to gauge water quality across Nebraska

A team of researchers at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln needs the help of curious people. Shannon Bartelt-Hunt, professor of civil engineering, is seeking citizen scientists to conduct water tests in August for a program that’s aiming to track water quality across the state, while also keeping Nebraskans safe. Bartelt-Hunt and her research team are asking volunteers to test well water one time between August 26th to September 9 with a kit provided through the program. The goal is to measure nitrates, nitrites and phosphates in groundwater statewide. Continue reading

Seeds: ReVOLT and Resolve

Graham Christensen sits in the machine shed at his family farm outside Oakland, NE. The farm his Great Grandfather, Christian Christensen, settled to from Denmark in 1867. “They escaped persecution,” he said. “I still have the paperwork that says, ‘It is bona fide my intention to become a citizen of the United States, and to renounce and abjure forever all allegiance and fidelity to all and any foreign Prince, Potentate, State and Sovereignty whatever, and particularly to the King of Denmark of whom I was a subject.’” Continue reading

Nebraskans talk extreme weather. Just don’t call it climate change.

Christian Science-Monitor on Why We Wrote This "The severe flooding that inundated Nebraska last month washed away fields, bridges, and roads. But the extreme weather is also starting to sway residents’ thinking about climate." FREMONT, NE -  The flood carried away edges of his fields, dumped up to 6 inches of useless sand on his fertile loam, and deposited, incongruously, the elastic band of a pair of Hanes underwear on a bush. But everywhere Chad Christianson looks, all he sees is green. Continue reading

How Will We Produce Food in the New Era of Climate Extremes? The Solution Lies in The Soil

At the recent Nebraska Farmers Union Convention Dr. Martha Shulski, our State Climatologist who co-authored the 4th National Climate Assessment, eerily foretold to a large group of farmers that we are moving into a new era of weather extremes. Dr. Shulski also noted it was likely that as farmers, we would need to consider a change in our farming practices due to extreme climatic events if we expected to maintain sustainable businesses. Only 3 months later the 2019 Bomb Cyclone hit the midwest, and a perfect storm of conditions led to a series of catastrophic flooding events that cost our farmers millions of dollars. Many of these costs took years of sweat investment and will never be recovered. Continue reading