Sense Natural Products

SENSE NATURAL PRODUCTS in Scribner is planning a $16.4 million soybean processing plant at Highway 275 and Pebble Street, owning the crushing mill at left, working to buy the former Northeast Nebraska Biofuels plant at right, with a new building in the foreground. The Scribner City Council recently authorized Sense to issue $17 million in industrial development bonds for the plant.

SCRIBNER — One of Scribner’s first major business ventures in the past 10 years has been given the green light to issue industrial development bonds for the endeavor.

Sense Natural Products (SNP) will use the bonds for its new $16.4 million soybean processing plant after receiving Scribner City Council approval to issue up to $17 million in bonds. The plant could bring 15 to 20 jobs to town.

Bonds will be used to pay for a 6-million-bushel capacity soybean processing plant that will manufacture 145,000 tons of soybean meal for poultry, swine and equine purposes and 5.8 million pounds of raw degummed soybean oil for poultry and swine producers, equine and dairy topping oils, and premium pet food manufacturing, said David Dennis, SNP chief operating officer.

“This is a strong project,” said Chix Miller, a Macon, Ga.,-based attorney representing the bonding company. “The tax base will be increased significantly by the infusion of capital that this project will produce.”

Sense officials have a soybean crushing mill at 137 Pebble St. and are negotiating to buy the former Northeast Nebraska Biodiesel plant along Highway 275 from Grains States Biofuels in West Point. Plans call for a new building also to be erected at Highway 275 and Pebble Street.

If the plant complex is valued at $10 million at completion, it will represent one-third of the city’s property valuation, said Mayor Ken Thomas.

The council gave 4-0 approval recently for the bonds after a required federal public hearing. But an April vote on the issue was 3-2 with the mayor breaking the deadlock so that the project could move forward.

Northeast Nebraska Biodiesel started on Railroad Street or Highway 275 in 2006. The plant, which had the capacity to produce 5 million gallons of biodiesel annually, closed in 2009 because of high soybean prices. Dodge County property records show that Grain States Biofuels in West Point bought the plant in 2010.

Sense Natural Products sought a similar resolution for industrial bonds from the Dodge County board earlier this spring.

On March 29, Supervisor Gary Osborn of Fremont expressed concern about a quarterly report that R&D USA — Sense is a division of R&D USA — had yet to achieve a profit as of Aug. 31, 2016, with a deficit of $22.39 million and net loss of $723,614. At that time, Osborn questioned if R&D would use industrial bonds to pay off debt.

Mike Baumert, the Scribner council president, asked if R&D or Sense Natural Products is applying for bonds, noting R&D was listed as the company when it met with the Dodge County board.

Dennis replied R&D obtained an industrial bond inducement from Dodge County for a plant in 2015, but bond investors backed out because of a large bird flu epidemic. R&D subsequently sold some shares and technology to Sense Technologies, and assets were transferred to Sense last fall.

Dennis told City Attorney Jim McNally that its current building and former biodiesel plant have tax increment financing attached to the deeds. As a result, both will stay off the tax rolls until the TIF expires.

Last week, Miller reviewed details with the council, such as a $130,000 infrastructure fund to help with utility upgrade costs and a $20,000 administrative fee being paid to the city.

Matthew Kruse, Scribner Chamber of Commerce president and Scribner Pharmacy co-owner, said the addition of 15 jobs is a local benefit, and the plant builds on the reputation of what Scribner can offer.

Don Beck, Scribner-Snyder school board member, asked the council to approve the bonds, citing the importance of progress in town.

“Let’s move the city forward,” Beck said.

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