Organic Consumers Association

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Costco's 100 Million Chickens Will Change the Face of Nebraska

The state has paved the way for Costco's experiment in extreme vertical integration for years. But farmers and activists brought together in opposition envision another way forward.

Can a single company reshape a landscape? That’s the question at play in Nebraska, where Costco, one of America’s most powerful companies, has the potential to impact residents, farmers, and the environment in complex and unprecedented ways.

At the center of the move is the company’s $4.99 rotisserie chicken. In 2014, Costco reported selling 78 million of these processed, four-pound birds a year. In order to guarantee a steady supply and maintain the price, Costco fixed its eye on Nebraska as the best place to start raising and processing its own supply of chickens, and “break free of the monopoly” held by companies such as Tyson and Pilgrim’s Pride, much like it did for sausage and hotdogs with its Kirkland plant in Tracy, California.

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