Second farmer to request for poultry operation

September 28, 2018

Farmer John Doernemann is aiming to expand his business portfolio and keep his farm within family hands by raising birds for the Costco/Lincoln Premium Poultry Chicken Processing facility slated for a 2019 opening in south Fremont.

“We’ve got some sons and possibly daughters who want to come back and join the operation someday, so this just gives us the opportunity to bring the young kids back,” said Doernemann, who hopes to run a 2,850-animal-unit operation on his farm located north of Schuyler.

Doernemann is one of numerous applicants living within an approximately 60-mile radius of the facility currently being erected on a 414-acre tract of land.

“We totally believe in production agriculture,” said Doernemann, who is the second Colfax County applicant this year. “We are committed to producing food.”

Doernemann, a second-generation farmer, said his family has been in the farming business since the 1970s growing crops like soybeans, alfalfa and corn, as well as raising cattle and hogs. Doernemann said the poultry operation would benefit the family business in many different ways, from bringing in more profit to reducing fertilizer cost.

During a Sept. 19 public hearing held as part of a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, Doernemann said he notified his neighbors when he made the decision to pursue the opportunity.

Throughout the process, the Doernemanns have been working closely with Andy Scholting, president and general manager of Nutrient Advisors in West Point, to put together the state- and county-level permit applications.

Scholting said since the the family’s plan calls for a six-house boiler site it requires a three-eighths of a mile set back. Scholting said his staff determined that there are no home owners within that limit which fulfilled the application requirement.

In order to receive eligibility to erect poultry barns, applicants must score at least a 75 on the Livestock Sitting Assessment Matrix set forth by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture in addition to meeting numerous other specifications by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.

Scholting said the Doernemanns scored a 110 on the assessment.

“These facilities score very well because they’re not constructing waste storage,” Scholting said. “Everything is housed inside.”

Following approval, participating farmers are required to follow Lincoln Premium Poultry’s set regulations and conditions when operating their barns.

During the public hearing there wasn’t any spoken opposition and the Planning and Zoning Commission subsequently made a recommendation to the Colfax County Board of Commissioners to approve the Doernemann’s application.

“It’s just the right way to do it to get all the permits,” Doernemann said.

Natasya Ong is a reporter for the Schuyler Sun. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.

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