Cooked rotisserie chickens at a Coscto in San Francisco
Photograph by Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Lucinda Shen
April 18, 2016

Costco (cost) is creating its own poultry farm to produce one-third of all its chickens, raw or otherwise. And as anyone who has walked through Costco should know—that’s a lot of chicken.

The wholesale giant, which sells roughly 80 million of its famous $4.99 rotisserie chickens per year, was outed Thursday for being the secretive company seeking to build a poultry processing plant in Dodge County, Neb. The factory would create roughly 1,100 new jobs and invest $180 million in the region, according to a press release from the Greater Fremont Development Council, a local public/private partnership.

If the plans go through, Costco will slaughter about 1.7 million chickens a week, or 85 million a year, according to Bill Crider, an executive of Lincoln Premium Poultry, in an interview with KTIC Radio. Lincoln Premium would operate the poultry farm.

Costco senior vice president Jeff Lyons noted that part of the attraction for his company to build a plant in Dodge County is due in part to the area’s soy and corn production.

The move is part of Costco’s plan to have more control over its own supply chain. The wholesaler would be able to determine the size and cut of the meat. At the same time, Costco has sought to move toward antibiotic-free and cage-free chickens.

Costco has already made investments in the organic food space in the hopes of ensuring greater organic food supply in the future, according to the Seattle Times.

That said, it’s not a done deal. Costco is also considering other, undisclosed locations. Some Dodge County citizens, who were kept in the dark about the plant, oppose it, saying a chicken farm would stink.

Lyons noted that the decision will likely come within the next two weeks.

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