KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Costco Wholesale Inc. raised more than a few eyebrows when the company announced plans to build its own poultry processing plant in Fremont, Nebraska.

If successful, Costco’s Lincoln Premium chicken will be a model for other retailers to emulate, because it’s the first company to assume the risks associated with farm-to-fork meat production. The complex will include a 250,000-sq.-ft. processing plant, a 75,000-sq.-ft. hatchery and a feed mill and comes with a $300 million price tag.

With construction of the facility set for completion in 2019, stakeholders in the retail and poultry industries will be watching with keen interest how Costco’s strategy plays out. Here’s MEAT+POULTRY’s chronicle of Costco’s journey to self-sufficient poultry production.

Costco selects site for poultry plant
But the plant proposed for Fremont in Dodge County, Nebraska, faces some local opposition.

Fremont Chamber courts Costco
The company nixes Nickerson, Nebraska, site after rezoning vote fails.

Costco prevails in chicken plant conflict
Despite a lawsuit and vocal public opposition, City Council members in Fremont approved Costco’s plans for a poultry plant.

Costco breaks ground on Nebraska poultry plant
The Lincoln Premium Poultry facility is a first for the club retailer.

Costco’s new poultry plant a windfall for Marel
The Fremont, Nebraska, plant will process 2M chickens per week.

Costco poultry complex to have retail ripple effect
CoBank expects other retailers, foodservice outlets to re-evaluate supply chains.