New chicken farm application submitted in Lancaster County

LINCOLN, Neb. A farm on the outskirts of Lancaster County has applied for a special zoning permit, to open their own chicken farm contracted through Lincoln Premium Poultry who will manage the Costco chicken processing plant in Fremont, NE.

With the push back from the last zoning application for chicken farming the county has formed a working group to better define livestock operations.

Right now the lot near NW 27th and Ashland Road doesn’t look like much but there are big plans in place.

"The process takes about six months,” said Jessica Kolterman with Lincoln Premium Poultry. “It varies from to family to family. Each family has to work on their well permit, they have to figure out where this goes on their property, they have to make sure, they have electricity to the sites."

The new chicken farm would be made up of eight barns. Each of which can hold up to 47,500 chickens, totaling 370,000 birds. The application also has plans for a gravel access road, which they estimate about 20 trucks a week will travel on.

"Once we are fully operational and all the Nebraska farmers in the area are up and running and have their birds going through our processing facility, our company will support about 40 percent of Costco's chicken that’s sold in the United States," said Kolterman.

A new working group through the Lincoln and Lancaster County Planning Department is proposing changes to agricultural zoning regulations. Prior to last year the definition of feeding operations in Lancaster County was fairly vague. Now new regulations would include: defining small and large animal feeding operations, differentiating enclosed versus open operations and requiring livestock operations to be at minimum a quarter-mile from residential homes depending on the animal being farmed.

Kolterman says these proposed zoning regulation changes will not have much impact on Lincoln Premium Poultry Operations.

"We didn't see anything in those specific guidelines that were put out with the proposal that would make it a challenge with the guidelines that we already have in place," said Kolterman.

The application for the re-zoning for the chicken farm is currently listed as in-review.