Specialty Ag Formulations broke ground in early August at their new project in Aurora. The quarter section of land has been annexed into the city of Aurora. A soybean field stands not far from the groundbreaking site.
Specialty Ag Formulations will be a total of 100,000 square feet and allows Brandt to have a national footprint. It is a joint venture between Brandt and Frenchman Valley Coop based out of Imperial. Brandt, headquartered out of Tampa, Florida, does business in 49 states and more than 80 countries. The plant will produce agricultural nutrition products. The product is primarily used on row crops, such as corn and soybeans, but also specialized crops, including fruits and vegetables.
Rod Schroeder, one of the speakers at the groundbreaking said, “From Aurora, Brandt’s products will be distributed to about six states.” He described the Aurora location as being in the western corn belt. Schroeder who is a former Aurora resident, introduced the Brandt company to Aurora. He told the Aurora Development Corporation that Brandt is a longtime family business that is “held in high esteem.” He then told Brandt executives Aurora is a great community in which to do business. “You come here and you will be successful,” Schroeder told the Brandt people. “All the infrastructure is here, people are great, and because of that, this is going to be a win-win.
“Opportunity grows here,” said Kelsey Bergen, Executive Director of the Aurora Development Corporation.
Pictured left to right: Rick Brandt owner of Specialty Ag Formulations, Gov. Jim Pillen, Ben Sauder of Frenchman Valley Farmer Cooperative.
Two years ago, Brandt opened a state-of-the-art production plant in Brazil. Rick Brandt has been assured that the Aurora plant will be even better.
The company has operations in Avon Park, Florida; Pleasant Plains, Illinois; Logan, Utah; and two California cities — Fresno and Visalia.
Brandt was formed in 1953 by Rick’s father, G.B., and Rick’s aunt, Evelyn, who turned 100 on Aug. 25.
G.B., who passed away in 2020, would have loved to see the Aurora plant, Rick said. “He always enjoyed getting a plant tour, especially in his later years, whenever he got the chance,” Rick Brandt said.
Rick Brandt said he was excited to see the project come together and he promised that “we’ll be a good neighbor.” Brandt is also “looking forward to deepening our relationship with Frenchman Valley,” he said.
John Bender of Frenchman Valley thanked Schroeder, who now lives in Ashland, for bringing the parties together. He also thanked the Aurora Development Corporation for a job well done.
“When we came up here and did our tour, I didn’t know if we were looking at sites or if they were trying to sell me a timeshare. But it was well done, Kelsey. And we’re here,” Bender told Bergen.
Bender became familiar with the Brandts about 10 years ago. “They were a competitor of mine,” said Bender, who says he’s competitive himself. “I don’t like competitors. But I did like Brandt. They were a tough competitor because they were honest.”
Jim Ediger, president of the Aurora Development Corporation, said it took a lot of people to bring the project to Aurora. Some good connections were made “and we always thought we had a great piece of property here.” The area is full of farmers, so it makes sense for Specialty Ag Formulations to manufacture its products in Hamilton County, Ediger said.
Pictured: President of the Aurora Development Corporation Jim Ediger and Mayor of Aurora, Marlin Seeman.
Aurora leaders conducted a serious recruitment of the project partners, showing them “the value of our site,” Mayor Marlin Seeman said in an interview. “Once they began to show an interest, all of the partners in our community began to focus on how to bring this soybean field to life as a building site. Aurora Development Corporation and the city played a major role.” Seeman said.
The plant will begin with 15 employees. The number will gradually increase to between 40 and 50, Engel said.
Aurora’s current population is 4,678.
Gov. Jim Pillen and Sen. Loren Lippincott were in attendance, along with several others including, two of NPPD Economic Development team members, Rick Nelsen and Tricia Moyer.
Source: Lincoln Journal Star
Photos courtesy of Nebraska Public Power District.