VERTICALLY-INTEGRATED AGRICULTURE has not had positive impacts for rural communities, but instead has led to the de-population of rural areas, increased poverty, increased disease risk, water quality issues, and has not proven an economic advantage over the independent family farm structure. Many farm families immigrated to America just so they could be independent businesses and landowners, instead of government controlled entities. We should continue to support these Nebraska-based businesses instead of multi- national corporations.
QUALITY OF LIFE AND POVERTY has been a constant concern for communities that have opened the door to these multi- national growing operations. Wherever these massive corporations are built, poverty is soon to follow. This is because the contract growers own everything that incurs new costs while the corporate processors own everything that makes money. Other quality of life issues include concerns on low labor standards and disease outbreak.
LIABILITY is a big concern for potential growers. Typically, multi-national companies leave liability in the hands of the contract grower. This is dangerous for our neighbors who take on these risks, and we aim to protect our neighbors who do business in and with our community.
WATER CONTAMINATION and supply have always been a concern for local communities that have hosted these mega facilities. With water shortages occurring in other parts of the United States, mega-farms are looking to relocate to areas with an abundant and clean source of water. We need to protect our water resources from outside corporate interests.
For more information on this concern see the following:
COSTCO - GOOD NEIGHBORS? All the buzz is that Costco is a good neighbor: Costco cares. They will bring revolutionized poultry production to Nebraska. All Hypothetical Promises!
It must first be said that Costco will be the end retailer for this product. But, we don’t think you will see a sign at the plant advertising "Welcome to Costco.”
What you will see is a plant that is being run by managers from some of the biggest poultry producers in America -- Pilgrim's Pride, Sanderson Foods, and Crider Foods.
It was mentioned that the opposition is misinformed and has old information. Well, here is some information that is readily available through public records.
Sanderson Farm's lawsuits from 2011 to 2014:
Pilgrim's Pride's lawsuits from 2008 to 2015:
This begs the question: Will Costco truly be a good community friend if these types of practices are acceptable to them?
ECONOMIC IMPACT - Bringing a chicken processing plant to the Fremont area will have a huge impact to the local economy. Fremont taxpayers will incur costs to revamp the infrastructure needed to support the plant’s use of 2.4 million gallons of water DAILY. Property taxes will go up to pay for increased fire and rescue, increased police presence, and expanded road maintenance. Schools will suffer with overcrowding of new students; a bond issue is a strong possibility. Affordable housing choices will be nonexistent; available housing will be overcrowded. Hospitals and health care workers will be swamped with extra patients. Do we really want Fremont to turn into a mega town that’s bursting at the seams?
ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION is a very unwanted part of raising chickens. Manure, flies, odor, ammonia, threats to water quality, salmonella, bacteria, carcinogens--these are the faces of environmental contamination. There are 150 pathogens found in manure that can impact human health! Excess nutrients from manure can interfere with the water treatment process and cause our drinking water to age too quickly. Excess nitrogen in well water can harm infants. Roxarsone, an arsenic feed additive, can get into your drinking water via chicken manure--it’s linked to heart trouble, diabetes, and brain issues. Have you ever seen stinky algae blooms in lakes? Fremont Lakes would be affected! You, your children, and Fremont’s recreation business are on the line all because of chicken manure.
BIO-SECURITY MYTHS - The chicken industry’s claims that bio-security measures can STOP the spread of diseases and infections such as salmonella and the avian flu are false. The National Chicken Council has stated that bio-security measures are used as a tool by companies to MINIMIZE the effects. It’s impossible for the chicken industry to be self-regulating when it comes to containing bio-security: and, we should be hearing alarm bells.
TAX INCREMENTAL FINANCING (TIF) - Under " TIF" (Tax Increment Financing), the property owner uses a portion of their property taxes to make improvements that would have otherwise gone into the city's general operating fund. (Remember, they rarely use this to bring “blighted” property back into the tax base anymore.)
So, when the general fund is short of money, the rest of the community has to fill the gap by paying higher taxes on their property! Remember the "T" in TIF is TAX, and tax means we all end up paying.
OTHER CONCERNS - include, but are not limited to the following: Waste Disposal processes for both the plant and barns, lack of 3rd Party oversight, high plant employee retention ratios, hidden grower costs that would impact the growers profits, lack of protections for the growers, risk of disease outbreaks, and cost to the tax-payers of Fremont and Dodge County due to the use of TIF funding for 15 years.