During its Oct. 22 meeting, the Seward County Board of Commissioners approved another poultry farmin Seward County. 

Dustin Blecha is the applicant for a permit for a poultry farm that will hold four barns to house broiler chickens. He would be the fourth generation of his family to use the land near Goehner for agriculture. 

The board held a public hearing on the permit, during which Blecha’s neighbor, Cole Rohen, spoke against the permit. 

Rohen said he lived directly north of where Blecha’s operation would be and was worried about odors, excess traffic and his land value. 

Andy Scholting, Lincoln Premium Poultry’s consultant with Nutrient Advisors in West Point, said a study shows that 96% of the time, no odor would be detected outside of a small radius around the barns. Rohen asked if the data considered wind. 

Scholting explained that the tools used for testing were state of the art and developed by the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Scholting said the tool takes climate into account. 

Commissioner Ken Schmieding asked Scholting if anyone would check on the odors in the future. Scholting said Lincoln Premium Poultry has its own regulations, but there was not one specific regulatory body to monitor the air. 

Scholting said the area went through the Nebraska Livestock Siting Assessment Matrix. This assessment measures public health and safety, practicality, cost effectiveness, growth and viability of the animals and more. 

In order to pass the assessment, the land must score a 75%, Scholting said. Blecha’s land scores a 107%, Scholting said, because there will be no liquid waste and all litter will be housed under a roof where it will remain dry and then be composted. 

Jessica Kolterman with Lincoln Premium Poultry added that studies show land values of acreages surrounding a poultry farm have increased and have an average of 28 days on the market. 

Kolterman also said the poultry farms in Seward County would be bringing in nearly $30 million to the county. She said as far as traffic, she and Lincoln Premium Poultry are happy to work with the county to find the best route for their trucks, even if it adds a few more miles to the drive, as long as it is reasonable, Kolterman added. 

The board voted, unanimously, minus Becky Paulsen who recused herself as the zoning superintendent, to approve the conditional use permit. 

This will be the eighth poultry farm operation in Seward County. The others are located around Utica, Staplehurst, Beaver Crossing and another in the Goehner area. 

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