Costco's chicken processing plant, operated by Lincoln Premium Poultry (LPP), marked a milestone Wednesday as an Arlington farmer delivered the first load of corn to the feed mill in Fremont.
Erik Soll and his wife, Calli, who will also raise chickens for LPP, drove their red Peterbilt semi-tractor trailer loaded with grain into the facility at 10 a.m. Smiles, handshakes and hugs were exchanged for the momentous occasion.
“It feels pretty awesome,” Erik said. “It's pretty special and I'm glad that they chose us to be the first ones.”
Erik likened the experience to delivering grain to aunts, uncles and cousins.
“It's like working with family,” he said.
When it is operational, the feed mill will source about 350,000 bushels of corn a week and 3,000 tons of soybean meal and produce 15,000 tons of finished poultry feed. The mill is expected to be operational July 15.
Grain will be sourced from local farmers, said Walt Schafer, chief operating officer for Lincoln Premium Poultry.
“This is one milestone for us receiving our first load of corn, which was really one of the key bases for us to being in Nebraska in the first place,” he said. “It's sort of symbolic.”
Soll said the opportunity to sell grain to LPP is an added benefit, which is needed with fluctuating commodity prices.
“Prices are going to have to go up because everybody wants the grain to come to them,” he said. “It's going to be great not just for the people who are growing chickens but for the whole community.”
Schafer said LPP has contracted with ADM for feed for the farms that already have chickens.
With the feed mill soon to be operational, Schafer is looking forward to the next step.
“It is a big day and we'll have many more big days over the next couple of months as we bring the other facilities on and eventually start bringing birds and our personnel in,” Schafer said.
The chicken processing facility is expected to be operational Sept. 9.