“It looks like it’s going to be a good facility, a good location,” said Mike Jensen, the county’s zoning administrator.
But as the jobs and property tax base of the Fremont plant and the farmers serving it are celebrated as significant economic development victories in the state, a number of the large chicken farms necessary to supply the processing plant with birds have met opposition. Public hearings brought out plenty of public sentiment against them.
Lancaster County commissioners’ decision to deny a special permit to Sunset Poultry came after hearing opposition from neighbors, including the Raymond Central School District.
Last year, Kolterman said chicken barns supplying Lincoln Premium Poultry span about 20 Nebraska counties and four to five counties in Iowa, adding that the typical four-barn setup costs between $2 million and $2.5 million, with return on the investment estimated at 15 years.
Within a few weeks, approximately 65,000 chickens — 54,000 hens and 11,000 roosters — will be trucked to the Jackmans’ four enclosed barns on about 10 acres set back some 650 feet from U.S. 34 two miles southeast of Elmwood.
Each barn is 600 feet long.
The operation will be shut down about seven weeks each year for cleaning, with the entire flock sent to an out-of-state processing plant.