FREMONT, Neb. – In the wake of historic flooding in the Midwest, an official with Lincoln Premium Poultry (LPP), the chicken processing partner of Costco Wholesale Corp., confirmed that flooding in areas surrounding its poultry processing complex near Fremont, Nebraska, will not affect the completion of the project. The facility is scheduled to open Sept. 3. The $500 million project, which broke ground in June 2017, includes a 250,000-sq.-ft. processing plant, a 75,000-sq.-ft. hatchery and a feed mill.

The company said the recent Nebraska flooding did not have significant impact on the project even though areas around buildings were under water for a short amount of time.

“Due to the amount of flooding in the region, the construction on the barns is a bit behind, but we should be able to make up for that throughout the rest of the spring/summer of 2019,” said Jessica Kolterman, LPP spokeswoman.

Kolterman said operations will begin with limited capacity this fall with plans to ramp up production for 45 weeks. Once at full production, Lincoln Premium Poultry is expecting to process 2 million chickens per week for Costco stores.

The operation is expected to employ approximately 1,000 workers and include 520 chicken barns, including 24 pullet houses, 64 hen houses and 432 broiler houses.

“We considered Phase 1 to be our barn construction in 2018, and now we are into Phase 2 of construction,” Kolterman said. “That phase will run throughout this entire construction season of 2019.  We will begin Phase 3 in spring of 2020 and finish out the barn build-out.”

According to Brownfield Ag News, Lincoln Premium Poultry has built 90 of the 500 barns are completed or under construction with more coming in the next few months.

In March at an agriculture conference, Nebraska GovPete Ricketts said the state is encouraging the company to add a second plant in the future.

MEAT+POULTRY chronicled Costco’s journey to creating vertically integrated poultry production in 2018.