As a lifelong farmer, I’m writing in support of the proposed Costco poultry project. Inviting Costco into Nebraska is not going to hurt family farms; it’s going to help them.
I’ve heard concern about the size of the project, which we see a lot in agriculture, but it’s important to understand the realities of modern agriculture. We are going to have to double the amount of crops we grow by 2050, and farmers make up only 2 percent of the U.S. population. Farming, in a lot of ways, has gotten “bigger,” but we continue to produce more food using less.
Also, contracting with Costco means new opportunities for local farmers. According to the USDA, farmers who raise chickens under contract generally have higher incomes than other farm households. In addition to guaranteed income through the contract, fertilizer from chicken barns means less commercial fertilizer and less irrigation. Each barn could produce 300 tons of fertilizer annually.
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There is a lot of misinformation floating around about why Costco chose Nebraska and how we farm. I hope, for the future of our State and communities, no one falls for the propaganda.