Many Nebraskans are very familiar with the concerns associated with large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO’s). GC Resolve has concerns too. Impacts to water and air quality, horrendous contractual agreements that put growers at risk, and low wages all lead to a diminished quality of life. In regards to the proposed Costco Poultry Operation near Fremont, area residents are letting their voices be heard, as public concerns have been ignored.
Residents from Omaha and surrounding communities come together for a rally outside of Costco in Omaha to protest the development of the project which would create low-wage jobs, increase water and air pollution, and put farmers' at risk from one-side industry contracts.
Costco’s proposed operation is unlike anything our state, or even country has seen. The project would process over 400,000 chickens per day, with a feed mill and a hatchery, all located in a floodplain adjacent to the Platte River. Over 21 million chickens will be housed in approximately 500 barns spread out over Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa, all upstream from the Omaha and Lincoln metro areas, creating public health concerns as litter will produce excess nutrients that will leach into Nebraska waterways.
Costco barns locations inundate Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa communities threatening the public's health and our proud family farming culture. Some of these sites feature as many as 32 barns (or 1,520,000 chickens).
This isn’t the first time we have seen large corporations try to force themselves into our state while hiding from a public discussion. In the recent past, business approaches from the meatpacking and the fossil fuel industries (such TransCanada) have exemplified unethical business practices that have put many Nebraskans at risk. Nebraska is a strong pro-business state, and our principles have guided us towards business practices that respect one another. And most of us do not believe good business means profiting at the expense of another’s well-being.
Barns hold up to 47,500 barns apiece. Most chickens will take anti-biotics and growth hormones increasing the threat to Nebraska waterways with the introduction of resistant pathogens.
Costco's new extreme form of vertical integration creates many new concerns in Nebraska, and further threatens the environment. In a time when the world is looking to farmers and ranchers to take the lead in regenerating our planet, Costco has invested in an ecologically destructive form of food production. While this investment seems risky for Costco, it is even riskier for a planet at the tipping point.
During the great flood of 2019 the Costco Poultry Processing facility located at Fremont, NE was nearly engulfed by the rising waters. Poor planning, as seen in the above example, put area residents at a public health risk during extreme climatic events, and further threatens area water quality.
A young woman walks her dog at Linoma Beach in the spring. This scene is becoming more common in Nebraska lakes and ponds and is caused by excess nutrient contamination from industrial agriculture. This site is within a mile from the City of Lincoln's Water Wellheads.
Recently experts on water quality have begun to chime in. A recent John Hopkins University Research letter written to the Fremont Mayor and City Council highlights concerns to water quality and quantity from large poultry operations, and also raises concerns about air quality.
Nitrate levels in Nebraska have continued to increase with the growth of agriculture industrialization. Excessive nitrate exposure can cause health issues like Blue Baby Syndrome, which can be deadly in infants, and in some cases various forms of cancer, thyroid conditions, reproductive issues, and diabetes.
At a League of Women Voters Information Event co-sponsored by 13 other groups, experts raised concerns of the impacts an operation such as the Costco project could have.
Others in Nebraska are starting to take notice as well. Check out this radio interview done by Coby Mach's Drive Time Lincoln: