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EX-32.2 - EXHIBIT 32.2. - BION ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES INCbion_ex32z2.htm
EX-32.1 - EXHIBIT 32.1 - BION ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES INCbion_ex32z1.htm
EX-31.2 - EXHIBIT 31.2 - BION ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES INCbion_ex31z2.htm
EX-31.1 - EXHIBIT 31.1 - BION ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES INCbion_ex31z1.htm

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

[X]   ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
   

 

For the Fiscal Year Ended: June 30, 2020

     
    OR
     
[_]   TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
   

 

For the transition period from: __________ to __________

 

 

Commission File No. 000-19333

 

BION ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES, INC.

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)

 

Colorado   84-1176672
(State or Other Jurisdiction of Incorporation or Organization)   (I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)

 

9 East Park Couret

Old Bethpage, New York 11804

(Address of Principal Executive Offices, Including Zip Code)

 

Registrant’s Telephone Number, including area code: (516) 586-5643

 

Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of Each Class   Name of Exchange on Which Registered
None   N/A

 

Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

 

Common Stock, No Par Value

(Title of Class)

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. [_] YES [X] NO

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. [_] YES [X] NO

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. [X] YES [_] NO

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit). [X] YES [_] NO

 

 

 
 
 

 

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. [X]

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer”, “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer [_]   Accelerated filer [_]
Non-accelerated filer [_]   Smaller reporting company [X]
Emerging growth company [_]      

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. [_]

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act)

[_] Yes [X] No

 

The aggregate market value of the approximately 18,500,000 shares of voting stock held by non-affiliates of the Registrant as of December 31, 2019 approximated $9.4 million.  As of August 31, 2020, the Registrant had 31,525,656 shares of common stock issued and 30,821,347 shares of common stock outstanding.

 

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

 

None

 

 

 
 
 

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

THE RISK FACTORS BELOW ARE FURTHER HEIGHTENED BY THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND RESULTING ECONOMIC DOWNTURN AND OTHER RELATED CRISES AS DISCUSSED BELOW.

 

This Annual Report on Form 10-K (and the documents incorporated herein by reference) contain forward-looking statements, within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act"), that involve substantial risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements generally can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "may," "will," "expect," "intend," "estimate," "anticipate," "project," "predict," "plan," "believe," or "continue," or the negative thereof or variations thereon or similar terminology. The expectations reflected in forward-looking statements may prove to be incorrect.

 

Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations include, but are not limited to, the following (not set forth in any order that ranks priority or magnitude):

 

·failure of the political, legal, regulatory and economic climate to support funding of environmental clean-up and enforcement of environmental rules and regulations;
·changes in the public's perceptions of large scale livestock agriculture/CAFOs, consumption of meat and dairy, environmental protection and other related issues;
·continued delays in (and/or failure of) development of markets (or other means of monetization ) for nutrient reductions from agriculture and CAFOs;
·failure of markets for nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) reductions to develop sufficient breadth and depth;
·the Company's extremely limited financial and management resources and limited ability to raise additional needed funds and/or hire needed personnel and extremely limited working capital;
·unsatisfactory resolution of future negotiations with Pennvest regarding the Pennvest Loan (presently in default) and the Kreider 1 System (see Item 1, Item 7 and Notes to Financial Statements);
·further delays in the Kreider 2 Project and other potential Projects;
·industry risks, including environmental related problems;
·the ability of the Company to implement its business strategy;
·the extent of the Company's success in the development and operation of Projects and retrofit/remediation of existing livestock facilities(“Retrofits”);
  • dependence upon key personnel and the ability of the Company to keep its existing personnel and their accumulated expertise including the risk of illness or death of one or more key personnel (many of whom are over 70 years of age and/or have existing health vulnerabilities that are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic);
·engineering, mechanical or technological difficulties with operational equipment including potential mechanical failure or under-performance of equipment;
·operating variances from expectations;
·the substantial capital expenditures required for construction of the Company's proposed Projects and Retrofits (including Integrated Projects) and the related need to fund such capital requirements through commercial banks and/or public or private securities markets;
·the need to develop and re-develop technology and related applications;

the limited liquidity of the Company's equity securities;

·operating hazards attendant to the environmental clean-up, CAFO and renewable energy production, fertilizer and/or food processing and biofuel industries;
·seasonal and climatic conditions;
·availability and cost of material and equipment;
·delays in anticipated permit approval and/or start-up dates;
·availability of capital for small public companies like Bion in the current financial markets;
·the strength and financial resources of the Company's competitors; and
·general economic, Covid-19 pandemic and capital market conditions.

 

We do not undertake and specifically disclaim any obligation to publicly release the results of any revisions that may be made to any forward-looking statements to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events or circumstances after the date of such statements.

 

1 
 
 

PART I

 

 

ITEM 1.  BUSINESS.

 

GENERAL

 

Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc.'s ("Bion," "Company," "We," "Us," or "Our") patented and proprietary technology provides comprehensive environmental solutions to one of the greatest water air and water quality problems in the U.S. today: pollution from large-scale livestock production facilities (also known as “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations” or ”CAFOs").  Application of our technology and technology platform can simultaneously remediate environmental problems and improve operational/resource efficiencies by recovering value high-value co-products from the CAFOs’ waste stream that has traditionally been wasted or underutilized, including renewable energy, nutrients (including ammonia nitrogen and phosphorus) and water. From 2016 to present, the Company has focused a large portion of its activities on developing, testing and demonstrating the 3rd generation of its technology and technology platform (“3G Tech”) with emphasis on increasing the efficiency of production of valuable by-products of its waste treatment including ammonia nitrogen in the form of organic ammonium bicarbonate products. The Company’s initial ammonium bicarbonate liquid product completed its Organic Materials Review Institute (“OMRI”) application and review process with approval during May 2020. (See discussion at “Organic Fertilizer products” below.)

 

The Company believes that, in addition to providing superior environmental remediation, its 3G Tech will create the opportunity for large scale production of sustainable and/or organic branded livestock products that will command premium pricing (in part due to ongoing monitoring and third party verification of environmental performance to provide meaningful assurances to both consumers and regulators). As co-products, our 3G Tech will produce valuable organic fertilizer products which can be: a) utilized in the production of organic grains for use as feed in support of joint venture Projects (“JVs”) raising organic livestock, and/or b) marketed to the growing organic fertilizer market. Our 3G Tech patented technology was developed to be part of a comprehensive technology platform that could generate multiple present and projected future revenue streams to offset the costs of technology adoption. Bion’s technology platform includes onsite monitoring and data collection as well as independent 3rd party verified lab data confirming the environmental reduction impacts. The third party verified data regarding the environmental impact reductions will also be used to qualify the final consumer products (livestock protein—including meat, eggs and dairy products) for a US Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) “Environmentally Sustainable” brand.

 

The $200 billion U.S. livestock industry is under intense scrutiny for its environmental and public health impacts – its ‘environmental sustainability’-- at the same time it is struggling with declining revenues and margins (derived in part from clinging to its historic practices and resulting impacts). Its failure to respond to consumer concerns ranging from food safety to its ‘socialized’ environmental impacts have provided impetus for plant-based alternatives such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger providing “sustainable” alternatives to this growing consumer segment of the market. The plant-based threat to the livestock industry market (primarily beef and pork) has succeeded in focusing the large scale livestock production facilities (also known as “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations” or “CAFOs") on how to meet the plant-based market challenge by addressing the consumer sustainability issues. The adoption of livestock waste treatment technology by industry segments is largely dependent upon adoption generating sufficient revenues to offset the capital and operating costs associated with technology adoption.

 

We believe that Bion’s 3G Tech platform, coupled with common-sense policy changes to U.S. clean water strategy that are already underway, will combine to provide a pathway to true economic and environmental sustainability with ‘win-win’ benefits for at least a premium sector of the livestock industry, the environment, and the consumer.

 

Bion’s business model and technology can open up the opportunity for JVs (in various contractual forms) between the Company and large livestock/food/fertilizer industry participants, based upon the supplemental cash flow generated by implementation our 3G Tech business model (described and discussed below) which will support the costs of technology implementation (including related debt). We anticipate this will result in long term value for Bion. Long term, Bion anticipates that the sustainable branding opportunity may expand to represent the single largest contributor to the economic opportunity provided by Bion.

 

During 2018, the Company had its first patent issued on its 3G Tech and has continued its work to expand its patent coverage for our 3G Tech. In August 2020, the Company received a Notice of Allowance on its third patent which significantly expands the breadth and depth of the Company’s 3G Tech coverage. (See “Patents” below). The 3G Tech platform has been designed to maximize the value of co-products produced during the waste treatment/recovery processes, including pipeline-quality renewable natural gas and organic commercial fertilizer products. All processes will be verifiable by third-parties (including regulatory authorities, certifying boards and consumers) to comply with environmental regulations and trading programs and meet the requirements for: a) renewable energy credits, b) organic certification of the fertilizer coproducts and c) the USDA PVP ‘Environmentally Sustainable’ branding program (See discussion below.) Bion anticipates moving forward with the development process of its initial commercial installations of its 3G technology during the 2021 (current) and 2022 fiscal years.

 

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In parallel, Bion has worked (which work continues) to advance public policy initiatives that will potentially create markets (in Pennsylvania and other states) that will utilize taxpayer funding for the purchase of verified pollution reductions from agriculture (“credits”) by the state (or others) through a competitively-bid procurement programs. Such credits can then be used as a ‘qualified offset’ by an individual state (or municipality) to meet its federal clean water mandates at significantly lower cost to the taxpayer. Competitive procurement of verified credits is now supported by US EPA, the Chesapeake Bay Commission, national livestock interests, and other key stakeholders. Legislation in Pennsylvania to establish the first such state competitive procurement program passed the Pennsylvania Senate by a bi-partisan majority during March 2019. However, the Covid-19 pandemic and related financial/budgetary crises have subsequently slowed progress for this and other policy initiatives and, as a result, it is not currently possible to project the timeline for this and other similar initiatives (see discussion below).

 

The livestock industry is under tremendous pressure (from regulatory agencies, a wide range of advocacy groups, institutional investors and the industry’s own consumers) to adopt sustainable practices. Environmental cleanup is inevitable - policies are already changing. Bion’s 3G technology was developed for implementation on large scale livestock production facilities, where scale drives lower treatment costs and efficient production of co-products. We believe that scale, coupled with Bion’s verifiable treatment technology platform, will create a transformational opportunity to integrate clean production practices at (or close to) the point of production—the source from which most of the industry’s environmental impacts are initiated. Bion intends to assist the forward-looking segment of the livestock industry in actually bringing animal protein production in line with Twenty-first Century consumer demands for sustainability.

 

The Problem/Opportunity

 

In the U.S. (according to the USDA’s 2017 agricultural census) there are over 9M dairy cows, 90M beef cattle, 60M swine and more than 2 billion poultry which provides an indication of both the scope of the problem addressed by Bion’s technology, as well as the size of the opportunity. Environmental impacts from livestock production include surface and groundwater pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollution, excess water use and pathogens related to foodborne illnesses and antibiotic resistance. The greatest impacts come from the manure waste. Estimates of total annual U.S. livestock manure waste vary widely, but start around a billion tons, between 100 and 130 times greater than human waste. However, while human waste is generally treated by septic or municipal wastewater plants, livestock waste – raw manure – is spread on our nation’s croplands for its fertilizer value. More than half of U.S. crop production is fertilized in this manner. Runoff from livestock waste has been identified as one of the largest sources of excess nutrients in most major watersheds. Excess nutrients fuel algae blooms nationwide that are increasingly toxic; dead zones in the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, and Gulf of Mexico; and nitrate-contaminated drinking water in a growing number of states including Pennsylvania, California, Wisconsin, Washington and other states. US EPA considers excess nutrients “one of America’s most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems”. Nutrient runoff is expected to worsen with rising temperatures and increasing rainstorm intensity resulting from climate change.

 

More than half of the nitrogen nutrient impacts from livestock come from ammonia emissions from the waste. Nitrogen in the form of ammonia is extremely volatile, reactive and mobile. When airborne ammonia/ nitrogen eventually settles back to the ground through atmospheric deposition - it ‘rains’ everywhere. Most of this nitrogen enters surface and groundwater. In the context of groundwater aquifers, it can contaminate drinking water sources. It is now well-established that most of the voluntary conservation practices (often referred to as “BMPs” or “Best Management Practices”) that have traditionally been implemented to attempt to mitigate nutrient runoff are considerably less effective than previously was believed to be the case. This is especially the case with regard to addressing mobile ammonia emissions because such BMPs are primarily focused on surface water runoff, directly from farm fields in current production, versus the re-deposition that takes place everywhere.

 

Further, groundwater (vs surface water) transports this volatile nitrogen downstream, creating an additional problem, since most of the current conservation practices relied on to reduce agricultural runoff to our lakes and estuaries are bypassed by this subsurface flow. Nitrate-contaminated groundwater is of growing concern in agricultural regions nationwide. Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, California and Washington, (and other states) all now have regions where groundwater nitrate levels exceed EPA standards for safe drinking water. Additionally, in arid climates, such as California, airborne ammonia emissions from livestock manure contribute to air pollution as a precursor to PM2.5 formation, small inhalable particulate matter that is a regulated air pollutant with significant public health risks. Whether airborne or dissolved in water, ammonia can only be cost-effectively controlled and treated at the source-- before it has a chance to escape into the environment where it becomes extremely expensive to ‘chase’ and treat.

 

Nutrients from livestock waste runoff fuel downstream toxic algae blooms and dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay,Gulf of Mexico, Florida Bay, and many other estuaries, as well as the Great Lakes,. Excess nutrient runoff also impacts local- and fresh-water resources, producing algae blooms in lakes and rivers and contaminating underground aquifers that supply drinking water. The impacts of livestock production on public health and the environment are coming under increasing scrutiny from environmental groups and health organizations, regulatory agencies and the courts, the media, consumers and activist institutional investors.

 

 

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Bion's 3G Tech prevents the uncontrolled release to the environment of most of the nutrients from the CAFO waste stream, while recovering a substantial portion of those nutrients for value-added commercial utilization. Our technology platform largely eliminates ammonia emissions, other substantial greenhouse gas emissions, odors and other harmful air pollutants. Additionally, the platform destroys virtually all pathogens in the waste stream that have been linked to foodborne illnesses and growing antibiotic resistance. Similar to point-source treatment, such as provided by an industrial or municipal wastewater treatment plants, the performance of Bion’s technology platform can be precisely monitored, measured and quantified (in contrast to the modeled, in-exact - and so far, disappointing - results from BMPs). Third-party data from our facilities can provide the basis for verified environmental credits, and related revenues, as well as sustainable branding claims.

 

Bion’s proven second generation technology (“2G Tech”) platform (now discontinued as our 3G Tech nears commercial implementation) was developed to provide comprehensive onsite livestock waste treatment for wet (beef/dairy/swine) waste streams and has been proven at commercial scale at Kreider Dairy Farm (“Kreider 1”) in Pennsylvania (“PA”). In 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“PADEP”) issued the Kreider 1 system a full water quality management permit and verified the nitrogen and phosphorus reductions achieved by our 2G Tech. These ‘verified nutrient credits’ were qualified to be used as qualified offsets to PA’s federally-mandated Chesapeake Bay nutrient reduction requirements. In 2014 the 2G Tech was reviewed and qualified for federal loan guarantees under USDA’s Technical Assessment program. The Company anticipates that our 3G Tech will be similarly qualified and will produce results that exceed the results provided by our 2G Tech.

 

Bion is working with several stakeholders, including national representatives of the livestock industry, and members of the PA Legislature, and various other stakeholders, to establish a competitive bidding program in PA and other states that will, if implemented allow the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to purchase low-cost nutrient reduction credits from private-sector providers such as Bion. Bion believes that many states, which face similar livestock waste-related nutrient pollution issues, will adopt a similar strategy in the future. When competitively-bid markets for nutrient reductions become fully-established, Bion anticipates a robust opportunity to use its 3G Tech-based platforms to retrofit both existing CAFOs and equip new large-scale livestock facilities (“Projects”) to generate revenue from sales of verified nutrient reduction credits. Once Bion has been successful in certifying its fertilizer co-products for organic use (with resulting higher-value markets), we believe that revenue from organic co-products alone, together with renewable energy credit revenues and the potential value of environmental sustainable branding, will combine to create numerous profitable economically and environmentally sustainable opportunities for our Projects and related JVs, even without the nutrient credits upon which Bion’s 2G Tech business model relied.

 

Policy Change is Coming

 

The current clean water strategy being utilized in the U.S. is clearly failing, because it doesn’t adequately address waste from agriculture. About half of U.S. crops are now fertilized with raw, untreated manure. However, approximately 75 percent of the nitrogen in that manure is not utilized by the plants being fertilized but rather ‘escapes’ to contaminate the environment through various pathways and. Because livestock waste is one of the largest contributors to nutrient problems in our watersheds, livestock waste treatment can be the source of the low-cost solution for such problems – if the waste is treated at (or close to) the source of production. Manure control technologies, applied to large scale facilities where concentration and scale enable cost-effective cleanup, can potentially offer the lowest cost nutrient solutions available in most watersheds today. More than 80 percent of U.S. livestock production takes place on large-scale facilities, where cost-effective treatment can be implemented. There is no longer any real question regarding whether such facilities need to be cleaned up. The actual question for public policy concerns developing sources of new revenues which will enable the livestock industry to offset the implementation costs for the cleanup.

Despite trends toward concentration over the last several decades, the U.S. animal-protein industry remains (in key parts) a fragmented, low-margin commodity business. Cleaning it up will have to be orderly and contain a path to sustainability that does not cause U.S. food costs to spike or bankrupt the industry. This will require treatment sufficient to remove the volume of nutrients in excess of crop requirements. The global export market represents a significant part of the U.S. livestock production industry. An abrupt increase in federal regulation without offsetting revenues would likely create costs that could not be absorbed by the industry in a manner that would allow it to remain competitive in international markets. Selective state regulation would have a similar chilling effect within the U.S., since regulated producers in one state would be unable to compete with unregulated producers in adjoining states. Subsidies and/or new revenue sources are required.

 

Bion believes that reallocating some part of the approximately $110 billion in existing U.S. taxpayer-funded clean water spending to lower-cost alternative solutions in agriculture (including competitively-bid nutrient reduction procurement) is inevitable. It will provide the taxpayer with accelerated and substantially lower-cost verified air and water quality solutions compared to current strategy. If Bion’s technology is implemented in appropriate situations, it will provide the livestock industry with the recurring revenues that are needed to offset the costs of technology adoption without major disruption to the industry. To date, a wide range of entrenched interests have opposed and fought policy change that might reallocate clean water spending to more cost-effective alternatives; but this common-sense approach is being accepted by a widening group of stakeholders.

 

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NOTE, HOWEVER, THAT THE CURRENT COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND RESULTANT ECONOMIC CRISES AND BUDGETARY CONSTRAINTS APPEAR TO HAVE DELAYED POLICY INITIATIVES RELATED TO THESE MATTERS AT BOTH THE STATE AND FEDERAL LEVELS. AS A RESULT, IT IS NOT CURRENTLY POSSIBLE TO REASONABLY PROJECT A TIMETABLE FOR ADOPTION OF THE POLICY CHANGES DISCUSSED HEREIN.

 

A bipartisan 2013 Pennsylvania legislative study projected that creating a competitive bidding program to procure nitrogen reductions to meet federal Chesapeake Bay mandates, regardless of source, could reduce the state’s tax- and ratepayer-funded compliance costs by up to 80 percent (approximately $1.5B annually). The legislative study was updated in 2018 to reflect new policies. The updated report projects savings of up to 90 percent. As discussed in the original study, much of the savings were due to low-cost high-impact manure control projects (Bion’s technology figured prominently in the report).  Senate Bill 575, which is supported by legislative leadership, national livestock interests and other key stakeholders (and is consistent with US EPA policies), will establish a competitive procurement program that will unlock some of these opportunities in PA. In June 2019, the Pennsylvania Senate voted 33 to 17 in favor of Senate Bill 575. The bill is now pending in the House. Bion was optimistic that the bill would be adopted by the House and signed by the Governor in the current session as the bill was scheduled to be taken up in the House during March 2020 but one effect of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis has been that PA funding for new initiatives is largely ‘on hold’ at the present time.

 

In a 2017 Letter of Expectation to PA’s Department of Environmental Protection, US EPA demonstrated its support of a procurement strategy to engage the private sector - as long as the Credits are verified. It is noteworthy that US EPA and national livestock industry representatives agree on this strategy. Such a procurement strategy is also consistent with USDA and EPA support of ‘Private Partnerships’ and OMB’s guidance that supports acquiring verified results vs. financing projects with uncertain outcomes and taxpayer risks. We believe that strategies being developed in Pennsylvania and the Chesapeake Bay are likely to serve as a model for the 40 other states now seeking solutions to similar water quality problems. Today, most states face a similar issue---unfunded federal clean water mandates. Pennsylvania’s proposed competitive bidding program provides an opportunity to significantly reduce the cost to PA (and a model for other states to utilize in the future) in meeting such mandates.

 

Technology and Technology Platform 

 

We have invested years of work and substantial capital on the development of our technology and technology platform since 1989.

 

Bion’s patented second generation technology (“2G Tech”) was proven at commercial scale and it was reviewed and qualified for federal loan guarantees under USDA’s Technical Assessment program. Bion’s 2G Tech Kreider dairy project (“Kreider 1” or “KF1”) received the first verified /measurable nutrient reduction credits from a non-point source livestock facility in the U.S. and its nutrient reductions were verified by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) during 2012. A key attribute of Bion’s 2G Tech (now supplanted by our 3G Tech) was that nutrient and other pollution reductions could be measured, providing a level of verification on par with a municipal wastewater treatment plant -- which created the opportunity for their nutrient reductions to be used as “qualified offsets” to EPA-mandated requirements. While it was an engineering success, Kreider 1 has failed financially to date because the 2G Tech platform was almost wholly dependent for revenue from anticipated demand for Credits based on nitrogen reductions in Pennsylvania’s trading program that failed to materialize. The Company is no longer implementing Projects based on its 2G Tech and the Kreider 1 project has been shut down.

 

Our 3G Tech was developed by Bion to avoid the dependence of our 2G Tech systems on the sale of Credits. The 3G Tech platform has been designed to capture revenues from environmental reductions, co-products and premium pricing from USDA ‘environmentally sustainable’ retail branding. The first patent on the 3G Tech was filed in 2015 for an ammonia recovery process that produces ammonium bicarbonate (a commercial fertilizer) without external chemical additives, thereby providing the basis for organic certification. A Notice of Allowance from the US Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) was received during August 2018 related to this patent application and the patent was subsequently issued. Since July 2017 Bion has filed for extensions of this patent application to provide broadened protections and to cover improvements to the process developed in the interim. During August 2020 the Company received a Notice of Allowance’ for our third patent related to our 3G Tech. (See “Patents” below.) The 3G Tech platform incorporates Bion’s patented and proprietary technology while utilizing existing commercial evaporation and distillation process equipment (with decades of reliability and service history) that is customized for Bion’s specific applications.

 

The 3G Tech platform is the basis for a JV business model with four distinct revenue streams: 1) pipeline quality renewable natural gas and related carbon credits, 2) premium organic fertilizer products, 3) nutrient credits, and 4) premium pricing from USDA-certified ‘Environmentally Sustainable’ branding at the retail level. Carbon and nutrient credit revenues will be generated by third-party verification of the waste treatment processes that produce renewable energy and fertilizer products - with relatively limited incremental cost to Bion. The same verified data will provide the backbone for the USDA-certified sustainable brand, again with limited incremental cost.

 

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1)Renewable energy and related carbon credits:

Bion’s 3G Tech platform utilizes customized anaerobic digestion (“AD”) to recover methane from the waste stream. At sufficient scale, methane produced from AD can be cost-effectively conditioned, compressed and injected into a pipeline. The US Renewable Fuel Standard (“RFS”) program and state programs in California and elsewhere provide ongoing renewable energy credits for the production and use of renewable transportation fuels.

 

2)Organic Fertilizer products:

 

The 3G Tech platform has been designed to produce multiple fertilizer products including: i) ammonia bicarbonate liquid, ii) ammonium bicarbonate in solid crystal form and iii) a soil amendment products that will contain the remaining nitrogen, phosphorus and other micronutrients captured from the livestock waste stream. Bion believes each product will qualify for organic certification and intends to file multiple applications for varying concentrations of crystal product going forward.

.

Ammonium bicarbonate manufactured using chemical processes has a long history of use as a fertilizer. Bion’s intends to develop ammonium bicarbonate crystal products which will contain 14-16 percent nitrogen in a crystalline form that will be easily transported, water soluble and provide readily-available nitrogen. The products will contain virtually none of the other salt, iron and mineral constituents of the livestock waste stream that often accompany other organic fertilizers. This product is being developed to fertilizer industry standards so that it that can be precision-applied to crops using existing equipment. Bion believes that this product will potentially have broad applications in the production of organic grains for livestock feed, row crops, horticulture, greenhouse and hydroponic production, and potentially retail lawn and garden products.

 

The Company’s initial low concentration ammonium bicarbonate liquid product completed its OMRI application and review process with approval during May 2020.

 

To provide a first level degree of clarity regarding organic approvals and the processes/procedures involved, Bion believes that this initial approval is of importance because subsequent organic products that are produced by using the very same technology platform (our 3G Tech) can now piggyback on the initial approval to a significant degree. Note that there are different layers to the U.S. organic program and that fertilizers do not get ‘certified’ as organic, per se. Rather, they are evaluated to determine if they are acceptable for ‘use in organic production’.

The National Organic Program (“NOP”) was established by Congress in 2001 under the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. The NOP develops and enforces uniform national standards for organically- produced agricultural end products – meat/dairy/milk, fruits, vegetables – sold in the United States. Operating as a public-private partnership, NOP accredits private companies and helps train their inspectors (USDA-accredited Certifiers) to certify that farms and businesses meet the national organic standards. For example, in a potential Midwest organic beef project (discussed below), each element in the supply chain must provide their certifying agent’s certification that the specific product, such as organic corn, has been produced in accordance with their organic plan. The end product - the beef - would be USDA-certified as organic by an accredited Certifier after a review of ALL the farming practices and inputs (which would include Bion’s ammonium bicarbonate fertilizer).

OMRI is a nonprofit organization that provides an independent review of products, such as fertilizers, pest controls, livestock health care products, and numerous other inputs that are intended for use in certified organic production and processing. OMRI reviews these products against the organic standards established by the NOP to determine if they are suitable for use in organic production. Acceptable products are then OMRI Listed®.

OMRI enables a national listing thru one application versus the alternative of using certifiers to secure listings in individual states. To those who wish to sell organic fertilizers into national distribution channels, an OMRI listing provides nearly uniform acceptance in the U.S. The OMRI listing Bion received in May was for our initial commercial product, a low-concentration liquid ammonia. It is valid ONLY for that particular product. For future Bion product offerings using the same technology platform, Bion will either need to file for specific state approval, or file with OMRI for a national listing, or a combination of the two. Bion may elect to use an individual state listing initially to be followed by an OMRI application if and when the need for a regional or national listing arises.

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The overarching standard of organic production, per NOP guidelines, is that a “product shall have been produced and handled without the use of synthetic chemicals…” That is rule Number One. At NOP, the term "synthetic" means “a substance that is formulated or manufactured by a chemical process or by a process that chemically changes a substance extracted from naturally occurring plant, animal, or mineral sources, except that such term shall not apply to substances created by naturally occurring biological processes.” In evaluating and approving Bion’s liquid ammonia for OMRI listing, Bion’s patented ammonia recovery system was not deemed synthetic. That is an important distinction for future Bion product filings based upon the same patented process.

The Company believes that organic approvals for its products: a) will provide access to substantially higher value markets compared to synthetic nitrogen products, and/or b) allow its products to be utilized in growing of organic feed grains to be consumed by livestock raised in JVs which will thereafter receive organic approvals. Based on preliminary market surveys to date: a) we believe that existing competing organic fertilizer products in both liquid and granular form are being sold presently at price points significantly greater than Bion’s projected cost and projected pricing, and b) that livestock products (beef and pork) raised with feed grains grown using Bion organic ammonium carbonate fertilizer products (during the ‘finishing’ stage) will qualify for organic approvals. It is anticipated that the Company will seek approvals for such products during the balance of the current fiscal year and will commence JVs that undertake initial production and marketing of such products during the 2021 calendar year.

 

3)Nutrient credits:

 

Bion believed that passage in Pennsylvania of legislation earlier this year that would establish a competitively-bid market for nutrient reduction Credits in Pennsylvania. The bill will most likely need to be re-introduced in the Senate 2021—2022 session commencing in January 2021. Bion anticipates that passage of SB575 (or re-introduced bill) in Pennsylvania will establish a competitively-bid market for nutrient reduction Credits in Pennsylvania within twelve months after passage and being signed into law by the Governor.

 

Note, however, that the current Covid-19 pandemic and resultant economic crises and budgetary constraints have delayed policy initiatives related to these matters at both the state and federal levels. As a result, it is not currently possible to reasonably project a timetable for adoption of the policy changes discussed herein.

 

Bion’s Kreider Farms poultry project (“Kreider 2”) is projected to generate between 1.5-3M lbs of Chesapeake Bay (“CB” or “Bay”) verified nitrogen reduction Credits (the range depends on the specific calculation methodology agreed to between the EPA and the Pennsylvania DEP). Bion anticipates the market value for these verified credits will be in the range of $8 to $12 per pound annually. The focus of the latest PA regulatory watershed improvement plan (“WIP”) has shifted the reduction mandates to individual counties. Lancaster County, PA is being asked to reduce 21% of the mandate (approximately 11M lbs of nitrogen) to the Bay. As a result, the Kreider 2 project in Lancaster County may expand to include a regional processing opportunity in addition to the Kreider 2 base project. Bion believes that initial funding of such competitive bidding program will allow Bion and others to demonstrate the technological effectiveness and cost savings of manure control technologies, which should result in the re-allocation of a portion of the existing approximately $110B in taxpayer clean water funding to be re-directed to nutrient procurement programs nationwide.

 

4)Sustainable Branding:

 

Consumers have demonstrated a willingness to pay a premium for their safe and sustainable food choices. Beginning in 2015, Bion has worked with the USDA’s Process Verified Program (“PVP”) – the gold standard in food verification and branding – to establish a USDA-certified sustainable brand. Bion received conditional approval from the PVP”) related to its Kreider 1 project (utilizing 2G Tech). It is our intention to amend and resubmit its application for the 3G Tech platform when the initial 3G Tech Project is operational and seek an approval for certification based on third-party-verified reductions in nutrient impacts, greenhouse gases and pathogens in the waste stream based on our 3G Tech. PVP certification incorporated as part of a recognizable brand will provide consumers with products and brands that can be trusted. Bion projects that such a brand and livestock product line will command a pricing premium for Bion livestock JVs and their customers.

 

Food safety and sustainability are issues of growing importance in the U.S. and worldwide. Bion’s branding initiative reflects trends already underway in the livestock industry. Driven by growing consumer demand, large food retailers (such as Walmart and Costco) and restaurant chains (including Chipotle and McDonalds) are increasingly demanding greater responsibility and improved sustainability in food production practices from their suppliers. The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (“Roundtable”) was created to advance a sustainable global beef value chain that is “environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable”. The Roundtable represents members from across the supply chain, including U.S., Canadian and Australian cattlemen’s associations, Cargill, JBS, Elanco, McDonalds and A&W.

 

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More recently, large institutional investors have begun to pressure the livestock industry. Ceres and several other large activist institutional investors have already expressed concerns about carbon footprint, water quality, antibiotic usage and animal welfare in letters to management of their investment holdings in the food production industry. The Collier Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (“FAIRR”) Initiative was recently launched to highlight the environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) risks associated with large-scale livestock production.

Over the last few years, most large meat and dairy product retailers have announced ‘sustainability’ initiatives, although the definition of sustainability is unclear. Bion believes that as these initiatives move forward, true sustainability on the production side will look a lot like what Bion can provide today with its 3G Tech. We believe our 3G Tech platform can deliver verifiable metrics that demonstrate meaningful improvements in sustainability for livestock production including: a) reduced carbon and nutrient footprint; b) lower negative impacts to water, soil and air; c) increased pathogen destruction and other environmental and public health impacts that are unmatched in the industry today.

The Covid-19 pandemic has further heightened consumer awareness and concerns related to: a) environmental sustainability, b) food safety, c) sourcing and traceability and d) humane treatment of both animals and workers. The more the livestock industry’s supply chain practices are transparent and known by consumers, the more consumers are seeking alternatives.

 

Bion’s ‘Environmental/Sustainable’ branding program is designed to address a wide array of consumer concerns ranging from: a) ‘where does your food come from?’, b) animal heritage information; c) anti-biotic use standards; d) humane animal treatment; d) its labor/human conditions (including hours, wages and working condition standards). It will include block chain traceability thereby enabling any quality issues to be quickly identified by lot and location thereby minimizing risk to its consumers.

 

In essence, Bion’s comprehensive technology platform will enable its livestock producer adopters to not only be the provider of the ‘product the consumer wants’ but also the company that ‘shares the consumer’s values’.

 

For the past decade, Bion has been directed toward creating applications of our patented and proprietary waste management technologies and technology platform to pursue JVs in three main business opportunities:

 

1)Installation of Bion systems to retrofit and environmentally remediate existing large CAFOs (“Retrofits” and “Retrofit Projects”) in selected markets where:

 

a) government policy supports such efforts (such as the Chesapeake Bay watershed, Great Lakes Basin states, and/or other states and watersheds facing EPA ‘total maximum daily load’ (“TMDL”) issues), and/or

b) where CAFO’s need our technology to obtain permits to expand or develop without negative environmental consequences.

 

2) Development of new state-of-the-art large scale waste treatment facilities (now utilizing our 3G Tech) as JVs which may be developed in conjunction with new CAFOs in strategic locations that were previously impracticable due to environmental impacts and/or to treat the waste streams from one or more existing large livestock facilities (“Projects”). Some of these Projects may be either a) Integrated Projects as described below, b) ‘central processing facilities’ which receive the waste from multiple livestock facilities, c) Retrofit Projects or d) hybrids with elements of each of these types. Each version will be able to realize revenue from multiple revenue streams potentially generated by our 3G Tech.

 

3)   Licensing and/or joint venturing of Bion’s technology and applications (primarily) outside North America.

 

In both categories 1) and 2) above, the Company intends to directly participate (whether by joint venture agreement or other contractual arrangements) in the revenues of the Retrofits and Projects.

 

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The opportunities described at categories 1) and 2) above each require substantial political and regulatory (federal, state and local) efforts on the part of the Company and a substantial part of Bion’s efforts are focused on such political and regulatory matters. Bion is currently intends to pursue the international opportunities primarily through the use of consultants with existing relationships in target countries.

 

At this time, our primary focus is on categories 1) and 2) above using our 3G Tech to develop new (or expanded) large-scale Projects with strategic partners (including the Kreider 2 Project) on a joint venture (or other participating contractual form) basis. Bion’s business model opens up the opportunity for JV’s in various forms based upon the revenue generated by our 3G Tech platform from nutrient reductions, fertilizer co-products and renewable natural gas (which revenue streams will be secured through long term take-off agreements for each of these co-products) providing initial support for financing of required capital expenditures (whether equity or debt). We anticipate that these revenue streams will be supplemented by revenue realized from long-term premium pricing resulting from the sustainable branding opportunity. We believe that the branding opportunity may provide the single largest contribution to the economic opportunity over time.

 

Kreider Poultry Farms – 3G Tech Project

 

Bion is completing an envelope of policy change and technology pilots that will allow it to move forward with a commercial scale 3G Tech project at Kreider Farms. Having recently received a Notice of Allowance of its third 3G Tech patent, Bion is focused on multiple key tasks (including the following items) that will allow Bion to finance and develop the Kreider 2 poultry project:

 

1.Support for adoption of PA SB 575 (or successor bill): This will create a competitively-bid market for nutrient reductions/Credits that we believe will provide support for project financing for Kreider 2 prior to development of markets for the coproducts from Kreider 2 are established.
2.Installation of a commercial-scale 3G Tech ammonia recovery system to produce ammonium bicarbonate products to be used for grower trials.
3.Completion of organic filings for all of Bion’s fertilizer products.

The 3G Tech Kreider 2 project is planned for two (or more) locations. It is intended to treat the waste from Kreider Farms’ 1,600 dairy cows and approximately six million egg layer chickens (with capacity for an additional three million layers). The Project will be designed for an initial capacity of 450 tons per day of waste and will remove nitrogen and phosphorus from the waste stream that will be converted into high-value coproducts instead of polluting local and downstream waters. The Project is planned to be built in three phases and may be expanded to include a ‘central processing facility’ with modules that will accept transported waste from the region on a fee basis.

Bion has a long-standing relationship with Kreider Farms including a 2016 joint venture agreement related to these facilities. Kreider has already made a significant investment in upgrading its poultry facilities to maximize the treatment and recovery efficiencies that can be achieved with Bion’s technology. The Kreider 2 project is dependent, in part, on development of a substantial competitively-bid market for long-term commercial sale of the nutrient reduction credits produced at Kreider 2. If the competitive procurement is implemented, we intend to arrange project financing for the initial portions of the Kreider 2 Project during 2021.

 

Integrated Projects:

 

While Bion’s 3G livestock waste treatment technology reduces the environmental impacts from livestock waste, Bion’s comprehensive technology platform provides the broader integrated response to consumer environmental sustainability concerns. The adoption of Bion’s platform integrates to varying degrees of the overall livestock production cycle from crop production to processing. Projects utilizing the Bion 3G Tech platform will be able to create cost-effective, verified data-based responses to consumer sustainability and food safety concerns. Without such integration, adoption of livestock waste treatment technology in a vacuum will not address the various growing consumer concerns (such as animal health and worker safety issues) related to livestock agriculture.

 

We believe that Bion’s technology also creates the opportunity to enter joint ventures with livestock and other agriculture industry entities (“JVs”) to develop Integrated Projects that profitably integrate large-scale CAFO's production with their feed producers (some of whom may utilize Bion’s organic fertilizers), downstream food processing facilities, and in certain applications, biofuel/ethanol production. The Bion 3G technology platform will provide treatment of, as well as renewable energy and co-product recovery/production from, the CAFO and/or food processing waste streams, on-site utilization of some or all of the renewable energy generated (and potentially, biofuel/ethanol production), in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner that reduces the aggregate capital expense and operating costs for the entire integrated complex while increasing production efficiencies and generating supplemental revenue streams.

 

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Sustainable/ Organic Grain-Finished Beef Opportunity:

 

Bion believes there is a potentially large opportunity for JVs to produce sustainable/organic grain-finished beef.

Beef production is the most challenged sector of the livestock industry, due to its size and inability, as currently structured, to respond to growing consumer concerns related to sustainability and food safety. The industry is structured to produce multiple levels of a commodity products (without any significant pricing premiums) graded based upon taste and tenderness. Today, however, consumer demand is shifting to products that are more sustainable, regarding carbon footprint, impacts to air and water and other metrics. The result has been an opening for disruptive startups, including Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, that are backed by large institutional investors and offer plant-based (in part) meat substitutes. The CEO of Impossible Foods has made bold claims that the $100B-plus (U.S. alone) meat industry will be obsolete in 15 years. The Company disagrees --- but such competition provides opportunities for Bion.

The Company doesn’t think the consumer wants to ‘blow up’ the beef industry which is responsible for the best and safest beef available in the world today (as well as the livelihoods of almost 800,000 farming, ranching and other families supported by the beef industry in the U.S). Rather, consumers want it to be more sustainable---and still taste good. Bion believes that strong demand exists for a verified sustainable beef product, with the taste and texture of traditional corn-fed beef which addresses the consumers’ concerns . Bion’s technology platform is designed to enable livestock producers to produce an environmentally sustainable beef product. Bion has worked with the USDA’s Process Verified Program (“PVP”) to establish a USDA-certified sustainable brand. Bion previously achieved conditional approval (for its 2G Tech pending resubmission and final inspections) for USDA brand certification that would initially include verified reductions in carbon, nutrients, and pathogens. The Company is confident that its 3G Tech will support a PVP brand for products of both sustainable and/or organic beef JVs.

We are moving forward with preliminary pre-development work on a JV to build a state of the art beef cattle operation in the Midwest U.S. The project would produce corn-fed USDA-certified organic- and/or sustainable-branded beef. Organic beef would be finished on organic corn (vs grass fed), produced using the ammonium bicarbonate fertilizer captured from the cattle’s waste. We believe Bion’s unique ability to produce fertilizer for growing of a supply of low-cost organic corn, and the resulting opportunity to produce organic beef, will dramatically differentiate us from potential competitors. This organic opportunity is dependent on successfully establishing Bion’s fertilizer products as acceptable for use in organic grain production.

In addition, as described above, we intend to develop JVs which use Bion’s organic ammonium bicarbonate fertilizers to support organic grain production. This grain can be fed (in the finishing stage) to livestock and raise organic beef (and beef products) that will meet consumer demand with respect to sustainability and safety and provide the tenderness and taste American consumers have come to expect from premium American beef. Such a product is largely unavailable in the market today.

Bion views such Integrated Projects as likely comprising parties including: a) Bion, b)capital market financing providers, c) participating organic grain producers, d) cow calf operators, e) cattle feedlot operators and f) slaughter/processing plants. Bion’s model will enable each market segment to generate greater profitability for essentially performing the same basic services as part of an integrated program rather than the present fragmented industry model. Providing an organic corn producer with sufficient ammonium bicarbonate to support a higher yield per acre in return for a share of the excess yield value is one example of integration.

 

Bion’s current long-term goal is to enter in to JVs to commence development of a number of integrated beef projects in the Midwest over the next 24 to 48 months. We anticipate that different projects will be integrated to different degrees and in different manners. Bion, as developer of, technology provider to, a participant in its Integrated Projects, anticipates that it will share in the cost savings and revenue generated from the benefits of integrated activities, including the potential for premium pricing due to sustainable branding.

 

Note that, in addition to the organic beef opportunity, Bion’s 3G Tech can also support sustainable beef, with a dramatically reduced nutrient (water), carbon (air), and pathogen footprint with USDA PVP certified branding. The Company also intends to pursue this opportunity.

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A material portion of the Company’s current activity is focused on activities needed to be completed to support these opportunities

We anticipate that most JV Projects (including Integrated Projects) undertaken by the Company in which we retain ownership interests will be pursued through and owned by single project subsidiaries.  Bion PA 1 LLC (“PA1”), through which the Kreider 1 System was developed at the Kreider dairy, and Bion PA 2 LLC (“PA2”), through which we are pursuing development of the Kreider JV and the Kreider 2 poultry waste Project, are the first two of what are likely to be many such entities.

 

Going Concern:

 

The Company's consolidated financial statements for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019 included herein have been prepared assuming the Company will continue as a going concern.  The Company has not recorded significant revenue from operations for either of the years ended June 30, 2020 or June 30, 2019.  The Company has incurred net losses of approximately of $4,553,000 and $2,659,000 during the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively. The Company had a working capital deficit and stockholders' deficit, respectively, of approximately $10,474,000 and $15,130,000 as of June 30, 2020.The report of the independent registered public accounting firm on the Company's consolidated financial statements as of and for the years ended June 30, 2020 and June 30, 2019 includes a "going concern" explanatory paragraph, which means that there are factors that raise substantial doubt about the Company's ability to continue as a going concern.

 

PRINCIPAL PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

 

The Company’s primary focus is on implementing its 3G Tech in JVs (as described above). Therefore, the category PRINCIPAL PRODUCTS AND SERVICES’ is not fully appropriate. While the Company may implement some 3G Tech systems on a contractual basis, our business is not primarily involved in sale or long term direct operations/management of our systems. The discussion below should be read in the context this business focus (described in detail above and below).

 

Bion has invested over $100 million in its business since 1989, much of which has been expended development of its technologies and technology platform, policy change initiatives and other activities. Our 2G Tech (now supplanted by our 3G Tech) was proven at commercial scale and was been reviewed and qualified for federal loan guarantees under USDA’s Technical Assessment program. The 2G Tech platform (as will our 3G Tech going forward) provided verified nutrient credits from wet livestock waste (dairy, beef, and swine) that can be used to offset US EPA-mandated TMDL requirements. The Company intends to implement its first 3G Tech systems during the 2021 (current) and 2022 fiscal years. Our 3G Tech and 3G Tech platform provide the basis for our planned JVs and Projects and therefore constitute our ‘principal products’.

 

Each Bion system (whether prior 2G Tech or current 3G Tech) is comprised of several process units combined in a ‘process train’, much like a municipal wastewater treatment plant. The platform utilizes a combination of mechanical, biological, and thermal processes and can be configured in a variety of ways, based on the needs and economics of the location, to provide the level of environmental treatment required, while separating and aggregating the various components of the waste stream for processing and recovery. A key attribute of the Bion platform is that the performance of the systems can be measured, quantified and verified through a proprietary data collection system, providing a level of oversight and verification similar to waste water treatment facilities. In addition to providing third-party verification of reductions for regulatory/credit purposes, the same data can also be used to support the claims of a USDA-certified sustainable branding.

 

Bion’s waste treatment solutions are scalable, proven in commercial operations (2G Tech) and the verified results have been accepted by EPA (for use as a “qualified offset”), USDA and other regulatory agencies. Bion’s core processes are protected by nine U.S. patents and six international patents, with additional applications pending in the US, EU, New Zealand, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Australia. We do not know of any other cost-effective technology that provides Bion system’s level of treatment of livestock waste: dairy, beef, poultry and swine. Note that while revenues from Bion’s 2G platform were 90 percent dependent on developing markets for nutrient reductions, our 3G Tech systems will generate revenues from multiple co-product streams to supplement revenues from nutrient reductions.

 

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Bion’s 3G Tech platform has been developed over the past four years to maximize co-product recovery values from large scale facilities (or multiple modular facilities) while maintaining/improving the level of environmental remediation produced by our 2G systems. The 3G systems will recover nitrogen from the CAFO waste stream for production of nitrogen-rich fertilizer products that Bion believes will qualify for certification for use in growing organic crops (the first approval was received during the 2020 fiscal year) for livestock and human. Further, the 3G Tech platform will recover methane that can be conditioned to pipeline quality and will qualify for various credits and subsidies as clean, renewable natural gas.  These two revenue streams will supplement revenues from nutrient reduction credits and USDA-certified PVP sustainable branding.  

 

Building upon our 2G Tech and Bion's over 20 years of experience providing waste treatment services to the livestock industry, commencing with our first generation technology applications, the Company is pursuing the Retrofit opportunity related to environmental remediation of existing CAFOs.  Our technology has evolved and been upgraded over the decades to meet changing standards and requirements. While Bion's 3G Tech platforms creates potentially profitable business opportunities to provide waste treatment services and systems and/or renewable energy production capability to existing large livestock operations (of which there are many), and potentially to smaller facilities through aggregation of waste streams. this is not our primary focus. Candidates for these solutions include individual CAFO facilities that face impending regulatory action, CAFOs that wish to expand or relocate, and operations located in regions that suffer severe and immediate environmental issues, such as the Chesapeake Bay watershed, Great Lakes region and/or the San Joaquin Valley, where financial incentives (such as nutrient reduction credit trading programs) are (or may become) available that encourage voluntary reductions of nutrient releases and/or atmospheric emissions from agricultural sources.

 

Pennsylvania and Chesapeake Bay Initiatives

 

The Kreider 1 2G Tech dairy system in Pennsylvania in the Chesapeake Bay watershed represented the Company's first Retrofit in this market segment. This Retrofit installation was designed and intended primarily to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus releases and ammonia emissions from the dairy waste streams to generate tradable nutrient reduction credits as part of a nutrient credit trading program through the PA Department of Environmental Protection (‘PADEP’). While this project has not been (and most likely will not be) a commercial success on a stand-alone basis (due to PA’s failure to implement a viable long-term credit trading market), it has demonstrated that Bion’s manure treatment technology can generate low-cost verified credits, providing the basis of a 2013 PA Legislative Budget and Finance Committee report (updated in 2018) that supports the use of manure technologies to provide low-cost alternatives to meet Bay mandates.

 

It is likely that the Kreider 2 poultry waste treatment Project, which is in its early development and pre-permitting phase, will be one of our first large scale JV Projects. The Kreider 2 Project will utilize our 3G Tech platform to treat the waste stream from Kreider Farm’s large poultry operations (possibly together with waste from other nearby poultry operations and/or other waste streams) (and the dairy waste stream previously treated in the Kreider 1 system) to generate renewable energy, marketable nutrient reduction credits and co-products (including nitrogen in organic and/or non-organic forms). It is targeted to treat the waste stream from approximately 9 million birds, in modules, when fully developed. Estimated capital costs (‘capex’) are currently in the $60 million range (with the caveat that no site has yet been chosen, technology development is not complete and the final design work has not yet begun) and has the potential to generate gross revenues of up to $50 million annually from the multiple revenue streams based on current projected yields and prices, none of which are assured. Note that tech and system design work is continuing and the Company anticipates reduce reductions of both capex and operating costs.

 

To complete and operate the Kreider 2 project, substantial capital (equity and/or debt) has been and will continue to be expended.  Additional funds will potentially be needed to be expended so that the Kreider 1 system and the Pennvest Loan (see below) situation can be resolved, of which there is no assurance. The Kreider 1 system was developed to earn revenue primarily from the sale of nutrient reduction (and/or other) environmental credits. In contrast, upon successful construction and operation, the Company anticipates that the Kreider 2 Project will earn revenue from the sale of nutrient reduction (and/or other) environmental credits generated by its 3G Tech system and through sales of renewable energy and co-products (fertilizer nutrients and soil amendment products in organic and/or non-organic forms and/or renewable energy and environmental credits) recovered.

 

To date the market for long-term nutrient reduction Credits in Pennsylvania has been very slow to develop and the Company’s activities have been negatively affected by such lack of development.  However, Bion is confident that once these markets are established, the Credits it produces will be competitive in the credit trading markets, based on its cost to remove nitrogen from the livestock waste stream, compared to the cost to remove nitrogen through various other treatment activities.

 

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Several independent studies have calculated the average cost to remove nitrogen through various sector practices. Reports prepared for the PA Senate (2008), Chesapeake Bay Commission (2012) and PA legislature (2013; described below), as well as the Maryland Chesapeake Bay Financing Strategy Report (2015), demonstrate that the cost to remove nitrogen (per pound on average) from agriculture is $44 to $54, municipal wastewater: $28 to $43, and storm water: $386 to $633. Pursuant to the PA legislative study, by replacing sector allocation (for all sectors) with competitive bidding, up to 80 percent savings could be achieved in PA’s Chesapeake Bay compliance costs ($1.5 billion annually) by 2025. If the legislative study had focused on the cost differentials of competitive bidding compared only with storm water, the relative savings would be substantially greater.

 

Since these studies were completed, most of the larger (Tier 1) municipal wastewater treatment plants in PA have been upgraded, at a cost of approximately $2.5 billion (vs initial 2004 PA DEP cost estimates of $376 million). US EPA is now focused on PA’s storm water allocation (3.5 million pounds) and has this sector on ‘backstop level actions’, the highest level of EPA-oversight and the final step before sanctions. In the same 2004 PA DEP cost estimate that led to the more than a $2 billion underestimate/miscalculation in municipal wastewater plant upgrade costs, the estimate for storm water cost was $5.6 billion. In April 2017, US EPA sent a Letter of Expectation to PA DEP, expressing the agency’s support for the use of nutrient credit trading and competitive bidding to engage the private-sector to lower costs. The letter specifically encouraged the use of credit trading to offset the state’s looming storm water obligations.

 

Bion anticipates that it will be able to profitably sell nutrient credits generated at the the Kreider 2 facilities (and subsequent projects) if prices are in the range of $8-$12 (or higher) per lb. of nitrogen reduction under long-term contracts, of which there is no assurance. Bion further believes that with the studies and information now available to other states that are (or will shortly be) facing these same decisions, a cost-benefit analysis will make it clear from the outset that competitive bidding for nutrient reduction credits from alternative approaches can provide dramatically lower-cost solutions than traditional strategies.

 

The Company anticipates that the Kreider 2 poultry waste treatment facility in PA will be one of its initial 3G Tech Projects. Bion intends that it will select a site for the Kreider 2 Project and/or its initial Integrated Project (and possibly additional Projects) after PA adopts a competitively-bid nutrient reduction Credit purchase program (see discussion above and below).

 

Sustainable/Organic Corn-Fed Beef Opportunity

 

The Company believes that one of its major opportunities will be in JVs to pursue the Sustainable/Organic Corn-Fed Beef Opportunity in the Midwest as discussed at some length above. It is the Company’s current intention to initiate several JVs pursuing this opportunity as developer of, technology provider to, and direct participant. See discussion above.

 

 

It is not possible at this time to firmly predict where the initial JVs and/or Project will be developed or the order in which JVs and Projects will be developed. All potential JVs and/or Projects are in very early pre-development stages and may never progress to actual development or may be developed after other JVs and/or Projects not yet under active consideration.

 

The Company's successful accomplishment of its business activities is dependent upon many factors (see 'Forward-Looking Statements' above) including without limitation the following, none of which can be assured at this date:

 

  • Successful development and completion of the first 3G Tech Project(s) to demonstrate the commercial economics of its 3G Tech platform;
  • Successful development of the first Integrated Project to demonstrate the operation of a fully-integrated, environmentally-compliant Integrated Project at a profitable level;
  • Establishment of a substantial and liquid market for nutrient reductions generated from the Company’s present and future facilities;
  • Establishment of marketing relationships needed for realization of full value from the saleable co-products including organic nitrogen fertilizer products;
  • Successful completion of organic certifications and USDA-certified sustainable brand ;
  • Our ability to raise sufficient funds to allow us to finance our activities, Retrofits and Projects; and
  • Regulatory and enforcement policies at the Federal, State and local levels.

 

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CAFO INDUSTRY: PROBLEM AND OPPORTUNITY

 

In the U.S. (according to the USDA’s 2017 agricultural census) there are over 9M dairy cows, 90M beef cattle, 60M swine and more than 2 billion poultry which provides an indication of both the scope of the problem addressed by Bion’s technology, as well as the size of the opportunity. Environmental impacts from livestock production include surface and groundwater pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollution, excess water use and pathogens related to foodborne illnesses and antibiotic resistance. The greatest impacts come from the manure waste. Estimates of total annual U.S. livestock manure waste vary widely, but start around a billion tons, between 100 and 130 times greater than human waste. However, while human waste is generally treated by septic or municipal wastewater plants, livestock waste – raw manure – is spread on our nation’s croplands for its fertilizer value. More than half of U.S. crop production is fertilized in this manner. Runoff from livestock waste has been identified as one of the largest sources of excess nutrients in most major watersheds. Excess nutrients fuel algae blooms nationwide that are increasingly toxic; dead zones in the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, and Gulf of Mexico; and nitrate-contaminated drinking water in a growing number of states including Pennsylvania, California, Wisconsin, Washington and other states. US EPA considers excess nutrients “one of America’s most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems”. Nutrient runoff is expected to worsen with rising temperatures and increasing rainstorm intensity resulting from climate change.

 

 

More than half of the nitrogen nutrient impacts from livestock come from ammonia emissions from the waste. Nitrogen in the form of ammonia is extremely volatile, reactive and mobile. When airborne ammonia/ nitrogen eventually settles back to the ground through atmospheric deposition - it ‘rains’ everywhere. Most of this nitrogen enters surface and groundwater. In the context of groundwater aquifers, it can contaminate drinking water sources. It is now well-established that most of the voluntary conservation practices (often referred to as “BMPs” or “Best Management Practices”) that have traditionally been implemented to attempt to mitigate nutrient runoff are considerably less effective than previously was believed to be the case. This is especially the case with regard to addressing mobile ammonia emissions because such BMPs are primarily focused on surface water runoff, directly from farm fields in current production, versus the re-deposition that takes place everywhere.

 

Further, groundwater (vs surface water) transports this volatile nitrogen downstream, creating an additional problem, since most of the current conservation practices relied on to reduce agricultural runoff to our lakes and estuaries are bypassed by this subsurface flow. Nitrate-contaminated groundwater is of growing concern in agricultural regions nationwide. Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, California and Washington, (and other states) all now have regions where groundwater nitrate levels exceed EPA standards for safe drinking water. Additionally, in arid climates, such as California, airborne ammonia emissions from livestock manure contribute to air pollution as a precursor to PM2.5 formation, small inhalable particulate matter that is a regulated air pollutant with significant public health risks. Whether airborne or dissolved in water, ammonia can only be cost-effectively controlled and treated at the source-- before it has a chance to escape into the environment where it becomes extremely expensive to ‘chase’ and treat.

 

Nutrients from livestock waste runoff fuel downstream toxic algae blooms and dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay, Gulf of Mexico, Florida Bay, and many other estuaries, as well as the Great Lakes. Excess nutrient runoff also impacts local- and fresh-water resources, producing algae blooms in lakes and rivers and contaminating underground aquifers that supply drinking water. The impacts of livestock production on public health and the environment are coming under increasing scrutiny from environmental groups and health organizations, regulatory agencies and the courts, the media, consumers and activist institutional investors.

 

Over the last several decades the livestock industry ‘specialized’, essentially decoupling from crop farming, and began developing increasingly larger facilities, which are often in close proximity, to improve production efficiencies. CAFOs are now responsible for 70-80% of U.S. animal protein production. The unintended consequence of increased scale, together with concentration in certain geographies, has been to overwhelm nature’s ability to absorb nutrients and mitigate other impacts from animal waste.

 

Nutrients from livestock waste enter the environment primarily through direct runoff (after ground application) or atmospheric deposition of nitrogen from ammonia emissions, after which they contaminate groundwater and surface waters. Livestock waste has now been acknowledged as one of the largest sources of excess nutrients that cause toxic algal blooms and dead zones in our waters, in addition to being a large source of greenhouse gases and ammonia, and pathogens that have been linked to food-borne illnesses and antibiotic resistance. A major study, completed in May 2016 by Colorado State University in collaboration with US EPA and the National Park Service, determined that ammonia emissions (from livestock and nitrogen fertilizers) have surpassed NOx emissions (from automobiles and power plants) as the largest source of problem nitrogen cycling from the atmosphere to the biosphere.

 

The same manure that is degrading our environment also represents lost opportunities for the industry. Spreading manure is a tremendous waste of the energy and most of the valuable nutrients it contains. Only about 25 percent of the highly-reactive and mobile nitrogen in manure is available to crops when applied as fertilizer; the rest is lost to runoff and/or volatilization to the atmosphere as ammonia or other gases. Further, in order to achieve the desired level of nitrogen via manure application, phosphorus must be over-applied, which is both wasteful and harmful to soil health and waters to which it migrates. Bion’s technology platform provides direct treatment of the waste stream (vs. release to the environment) that separates its various components so that they can then be processed into value-added byproducts, thereby allowing the energy, nitrogen, phosphorus and micronutrients to be utilized independent of each other.

 

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The traditional business model for CAFO's, regardless of livestock type, has relied on a combination of: 1) a passive environmental regulatory regime (including exemptions pursuant to certain statutes), and 2) access to a relatively unlimited supply of cheap land and water to serve as the basis for "environmental" treatment of animal waste.  Such land and water resources have now become significantly more expensive and, due to climate/weather variations, less reliable. Further, ongoing consolidation of the CAFO industry has produced substantially increased and more concentrated waste streams.  At the same time, regulatory scrutiny of, and public concern about, food safety and the health and environmental impacts from CAFO's has intensified greatly as the occurrence of downstream and local impacts has become more commonplace.

 

The production of animal protein (meat and dairy) in the United States (and elsewhere) now faces substantial constraints due to environmental pollution problems (primarily air and water), public health concerns, resource limitations (land, water and energy), input cost volatility and increases (feed, fuel, etc.), product price volatility and, potentially, weather variability and climate change. Each of these issues negatively affect both the current profit levels and the future activities of the industry as presently structured.  Spreading a billion tons of manure annually on fields and crops for fertilizer, is both a tremendous waste of resources and contributes to several widespread and costly environmental and public health impacts. Based on current estimates and practices, the annual environmental remediation costs of the nitrogen impacts from a dairy cow in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to the Chesapeake Bay range from $1,200 to $4,000 (depending on cleanup sector) while generating only $150 to $400 in net income (at current milk prices). Onsite waste treatment such as Bion’s can reduce that nutrient reduction cost by 60-80% (or more) while generating measurable local environmental benefits whose economic value in many cases will exceed the Bay nutrient reduction costs. Bion believes that its technologies (and its technology platform) can not only remediate/mitigate many of these problems, but can also be a catalyst for the substantial relocation, rationalization and modernization that is currently needed by the livestock industry in the U.S.

 

Agricultural runoff (including atmospheric deposition of nitrogen from livestock-related ammonia emissions) is one of the largest water pollution problem in the United States. Agricultural release of nitrogen and phosphorus into rural watersheds negatively impacts water quality and increases remediation costs, not only for local waterways and aquifers, but also for downstream water bodies and urban areas. Over-application of animal waste to cropland has resulted in manure nutrients polluting surface and ground water systems, adversely impacting fresh and salt water quality throughout the country, including the Chesapeake Bay, the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. 

 

Clean-up initiatives for the Chesapeake Bay, the Great Lakes and elsewhere are requiring the expenditure of substantial sums of money to reduce excess nutrient pollution and resultant algal blooms.  In each such case, agriculture in general--and CAFO's in particular--have been identified among the main contributors of pollution.  CAFO's are also recognized as a significant source of harmful air emissions and odors. Dairy CAFO's have been identified as the largest contributor to airborne ammonia and other polluting gases in the San Joaquin Valley in California and elsewhere. They are also among the largest contributors to nutrient pollution of the Chesapeake Bay.

 

A substantial volume of the nitrogen released to the atmosphere from CAFOs and their waste streams originates as ammonia and other nitrogen gas emissions, which is subsequently re-deposited to the ground, adding to the nitrogen loading to surface and ground water systems. Ammonia emissions also contribute to the formation of PM2.5, small inhalable particulate matter that is a well-recognized health risk. Further, untreated manure from CAFO’s utilized as fertilizer has been linked to pathogens that cause food-borne illnesses, as well as the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as MRSA.

 

Bion believes that its patented and proven technologies offer the only comprehensive solution to the environmental impacts of these concentrated livestock waste streams.

 

We believe Bion's technologies can enable animal protein production to take place in a manner which is both economically and environmentally sustainable, because our technology removes nutrients from the waste streams generated by animal operations at the source while it is still concentrated. The platform thereby dramatically reduces releases to water and gaseous atmospheric emissions in a cost-effective manner.  The potential resulting herd concentration increase (due to lower pollution) will reduce marginal costs of production for the CAFO’s. Previously unavailable locations close to markets, feed and other needed inputs may become available due to the reduced pollution created by our technology. Also, it results in a core Bion technology platform that can enable substantial integration of environmental treatment, renewable energy and by-product production, and/or animal protein processing operations, and/or biofuel/ethanol production, thereby creating the basis for the Company's Integrated Projects business opportunity.

 

Bion’s 3G Tech platform will provide comprehensive onsite waste treatment and substantially greater value co-product recovery capabilities at very large-scale production facilities (‘Projects’). The 3G Tech platform will recover renewable energy and nitrogen (that can be processed into a high-value natural and/or organic nitrogen fertilizer product), while simultaneously offering cost-effective solutions to several pressing environmental and public health issues.

 

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Bion’s 3G Tech Project JV business model is applicable to existing large scale installations (such as the Kreider poultry operations in PA), newly established CAFO complexes, and/or, potentially, ‘central waste processing facilities’ that serve multiple geographically-close CAFO facilities,  is based on revenue from the sale of 1) financial products generated in the course of Bion’s  3G Tech waste treatment including: a) nutrient reduction credits, b) renewable energy-related credits and c) other environmental credits; 2) co-products, including a) ammonium bicarbonate fertilizer (liquid and solid crystal), b) other fertilizer/soil amendment products, and 3) renewable natural gas (“RNG”); and 4) revenues from premium pricing/license fees due to sustainable branding. Based on pilot study results over the last 24 months related to the 3G Tech platform (and assuming such pilot results are achievable at commercial scale), Bion’s management currently estimates that in a commercial-scale Bion 3G Tech Project (such as the proposed Kreider 2 poultry waste treatment facilities or a large scale beef project of equivalent size) that there will be four large revenue streams (based on currently projected pricing and yields (of products and/or verified credits), which may vary in the future, each category would contribute between 25%-45% of the gross revenues):

 

  1. sales of verified nutrient reductions (when competitive bidding markets mature);
  2. sales of nutrient/soil amendment co-products (which will require building distribution with industry partners, regulatory certifications (including organic certification), field trials and market acceptance);
  3. sales of RNG (and related credits); and
  4. increased livestock sales revenue (premium pricing and/or brand licensing fees) from sustainable branding based on implementation of Bion’s 3G Tech.

Assuming that Bion can accomplish the tasks above, we believe that in some fully built-out JV Projects, any two of the above revenue categories may be sufficient to support debt service and operating costs , based upon current estimated CAPEX and OPEX costs, and achieve profitability when three revenue streams can be realized by a particular Project (without consideration of cost savings and/or additional revenue streams potentially available as the result of full integration).

 

There are many risks associated with these projections, but Bion’s management is cautiously optimistic that the challenges will be met as the initial Projects are developed. 

 

The Company is involved in ongoing technology development work with regard to:

 

1)Ammonium Nitrogen Recovery (plus residual soil amendment production)

As part of our 3G Tech work, since 2015 Bion has filed patent applications for our processes that recover a natural nitrogen fertilizer product without the use of chemical additives or processes. Two patents have been granted related to our 3G Tech and a Notice of Allowance from the US Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) was recently received regarding a third patent (expected to be issued later in 2020). Organic co-products consist of concentrated ammonia liquid, ammonium bicarbonate crystal solids and residual solids from the evaporation/distillation process utilized to process the discharge from a customized front-end anaerobic digester (See “Patents”). Bion anticipates seeking organic certifications/approvals for its ammonia bicarbonate fertilizer products (first OMRI approval for a low concentration ammonium bicarbonate liquid product was obtained during fiscal year 2020) for use in growing of organic feed crops and/or organic food.  The solid fertilizer product is intended to contain 12 to 16 percent nitrogen in a solid crystalline form that is water soluble and provides readily-available nitrogen. It will contain none of the phosphorus, salt, iron and other mineral constituents found in many organic fertilizers and also in the livestock waste stream (which may be separately recovered). Instead, the nitrogen recovered from Bion’s process will be in an industry-standard yet pure form that can be precision-applied to crops using existing practices and is intended to be suited to greenhouse, hydroponic and indoor vertical farming applications. Successful OMRI (and/or other) certifications/approval, if achieved, for the product’s use in organic crop production will provide Bion with access to a higher value market for the product than the synthetic nitrogen markets. The ability to generate concentrated ammonium bicarbonate in large scale and at low cost will potentially open significant opportunities in existing and future unique markets such as corn-fed organic beef, vertical farming and potentially organic cannabis. Both the ammonium bicarbonate and the residual solids will require OMRI (or other institutional) review and approval for their use as certified fertilizer products in organic farming operations.

 

2)Renewable Energy/Credits  

Bion’s 3G Tech platform incorporates anaerobic digestion (“AD”) (following pre-treatment) to recover methane from the volatile solids in the CAFO waste stream. At sufficient scale, methane can be cost-effectively conditioned and injected into existing pipelines, resulting in a renewable compressed natural gas. Federal programs to support renewable energy production include a 30 percent Biogas Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for qualifying biogas technologies and the Renewable Fuel Standard program that provides ongoing renewable energy credits for the production and use of renewable transportation fuels.  Livestock waste is one of the largest contributors of methane and nitrous oxide emissions, two of the most potent greenhouse gases. Under California’s carbon cap-and-trade program, eligible credits are currently being purchased from dairy farms located anywhere in the U.S. that utilize AD. Bion intends to file an application to include beef manure and poultry layer manure (such as will be processed at Bion’s Kreider 2 poultry waste treatment facility), as an eligible feedstock as part of the development process for JV Projects.

 

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3)Sustainable Branding  

During December 2015, Bion submitted its branding application to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Services’ Process Verified Program (“PVP”) to certify a number of verifiable environmental and public health benefits associated with the application of Bion’s 2G Tech to livestock production facilities utilizing our 2G Tech. The initial application included reductions in both nitrogen and carbon footprint, as well as pathogens. Licensing Bion’s brand, if approval is received, will allow producers that utilize Bion’s technology to differentiate themselves to consumers who are becoming increasingly more sustainability- and safety-conscious in their food choices. Bion’s Kreider 1 application received initial stage approvals by USDA, pending site-specific audits. We intend to file applications to include the utilization of our 3G Tech as JVs proceed toward development.

 

4)Nutrient Reductions  

Public expenditures on clean water from federal, state and local ratepayers are rising rapidly while overall water quality continues to decline. Harmful algal blooms that block sunlight and lead to ‘dead zones’ are occur regularly in the Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico and many other U.S. waters. Toxic algal blooms, like the 2014 Lake Erie bloom that shut down Toledo, Ohio’s water supply for several days, occur with increasing frequency. High nitrate levels in water wells located near livestock production are also increasing. Livestock waste has been acknowledged as one of the largest sources of excess nutrients. A task force of EPA and state officials described excess nutrients as having the potential to become “one of the costliest, most difficult environmental problems we face in the 21st century.” In 2010 US EPA established the Chesapeake Bay regulations that require substantial reductions in nutrients and sediment from the six Bay states and Washington, DC. This is the first watershed-wide, multi-state regulation of U.S. water quality. Compliance cost estimates vary widely, from $30 to $50 billion.  Bion’s technology will capture most of the nutrients from a livestock production facility, providing large-scale nutrient reductions at a fraction of the cost of traditional agricultural or downstream treatment.

 

Bion’s long-term objective is to focus the use of its 3G technology, branding and organic co-product revenues to develop large-scale livestock production JV Projects that consolidate, either by direct ownership or joint venture, the revenues from livestock production and Bion’s platform-related revenue sources. Note that appropriate housing for beef cattle (replacing open feedlots) will represent a significant percentage of the cost in the case of Projects involving beef production and will be required to collect the waste in an efficient manner in order to generate renewable energy and nutrient credits. However, the Company believes the such housing will significantly increase livestock production net income (due to efficiencies in rate of weight gain, improved mortality rates and other documented factors) and that premium pricing of even 5-7% at the wholesale level resulting from a USDA-certified ‘environmentally sustainable’ brand will have a dramatic positive impact on the overall economics of production. Further, we project that the potential revenue streams associated with organic co-products and sustainable branding will provide key long-term value opportunities that will drive such Projects.

 

The current Administration’s US EPA and USDA strongly support a market-driven strategy that will engage the private sector to provide innovative solutions to reduce costs. Proposed cuts to federal funding are likely to accelerate movement by the EPA and/or multiple states toward competitive bidding and other lower cost approaches to environmental cleanup. Nutrient reduction credit trading and/or procurement programs are already being evaluated and proposed in many states. They would allow verified reductions from unregulated sources, such as agriculture, to be used to offset federal requirements, in lieu of dramatically higher-cost infrastructure projects, such as municipal wastewater and storm water treatment. Nutrient reductions from Bion’s manure treatment technologies can be verified and achieved at substantially less cost than traditional infrastructure solutions, as well as today’s voluntary agricultural conservation practices. Additionally, treating livestock waste at its source also provides many benefits to the local environment and community that cannot be achieved with downstream treatment.

 

CORPORATE BACKGROUND

 

The Company is a Colorado corporation organized on December 31, 1987. Our principal executive offices are now located at the residence of our Office Manager at 9 East Park Court, Old Bethpage, New York 11804, at which location most of the Company’s physical records and central computer reside. Our primary telephone number is 516-586-5643. We have no additional offices at this time as all employees and primary consultants work from their home offices.

 

HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF OUR BUSINESS

 

Substantially all of our business and operations to date has been conducted through wholly-owned subsidiaries, Bion Technologies, Inc. (a Colorado corporation organized September 20, 1989), Bion Integrated Projects Group, Inc. ("Projects Group") (formerly Bion Dairy Corporation through August 2008 and originally Bion Municipal, Inc., a Colorado corporation organized July 23, 1999) and Bion Services Group, Inc. ("Services Group") (formerly Bion International, Inc., a Colorado corporation organized July 23, 1999) and BionSoil, Inc. (a currently inactive Colorado corporation organized June 3, 1996).  Bion is also the parent of Bion PA 1 LLC (a Colorado entity organized August 14, 2008) (“PA1”) and Bion PA 2 LLC (a Colorado entity organized June 24, 2010) (“PA2”). In January 2002, Bion entered into a series of transactions whereby the Company became a 57.7% (now 58.9%) owner of Centerpoint Corporation (a Delaware corporation organized August 9, 1995) ("Centerpoint").

 

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Although we have been conducting business since 1989, we determined that we needed to redefine how we could best utilize our technology during 2003.  From 2003 through early 2008, we primarily worked on technology improvements and applications and in furtherance of our business model of Integrated Project development.  During 2008 we re-commenced pursuing active commercial transactions involving installation of our 2G Tech for CAFO waste treatment and related environmental remediation and initiation of pre-development modeling and pre-development work to prepare for our initial Integrated Projects. We are now focused JVs based on implementation of our 3G Tech platform (and business model) as discussed above.

 

Our original systems were wastewater treatment systems for dairy farms and food processing plants.  The basic design was modified in late 1994 to create Nutrient Management Systems ("NMS") that produced organic soil products as a byproduct of remediation of the waste stream when installed on large dairy or swine farms.  Through June 30, 2002, we sold and subsequently installed, in the aggregate, approximately 30 of these first iteration of Bion’s systems in 7 states, of which we believe a few may still in operation in 3 states.  We discontinued marketing of our first-generation NMS systems during fiscal year 2002 and turned control and ownership of the first-generation systems over to the farms on which they were installed over the following two years.  We were unable to produce a business model based on the first-generation systems that would generate sufficient revenues to create a profitable business.  While continuing to market and operate the first-generation systems, during the second half of calendar year 2000, we began to focus our activities on developing the next generation of the Bion technology. We no longer operate or own any of the first-generation NMS systems.

 

As a result of our research and development efforts, the core of our current technology was re-developed during fiscal years 2001-2004.  We designed and tested Systems that used state-of-the-art, computerized, real-time monitoring and system control with the potential to be remotely accessed for both reporting requirements and control functions.  These Systems were smaller and faster than our first-generation NMS systems.  The initial versions of our second generation of Bion Systems were designed to harvest solids used to produce organic fertilizer and soil amendments or additives (the "BionSoil(R) products") in a few weeks as compared to six to twelve months with our first-generation systems.

 

During 2003-4 we designed, installed and began testing a commercial scale, second generation Bion System as a temporary modification or retrofit to a waste lagoon on a 1,250-milking cow dairy farm in Texas, known as the DeVries Dairy.  In December 2004, Bion published an independently peer-reviewed report, a copy of which may be found on our website, www.biontech.com, with data from the DeVries project demonstrating a reduction in nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) of approximately 75% and air emissions of approximately 95%.  More specifically, those published results indicated that the Bion System produced a 74% reduction of nitrogen and a 79% reduction of phosphorus.  The air results show that the Bion System limited emissions from the waste stream as follows: (in pounds per 1,400-pound dairy cow per year):

 

· Ammonia 0.20
· Hydrogen Sulfide  0.56
· Volatile Organic Compounds 0.08
· Nitrogen Oxides 0.17

 

These emissions represented a reduction from published baselines of 95%-99%.

 

Through 2007 the demonstration project at the DeVries Dairy in Texas also provided Bion with the opportunity to explore mechanisms to best separate the processed manure into streams of coarse and fine solids, with the coarse cellulosic solids/biomass supporting generation of renewable energy and the fine solids potentially becoming the basis of organic fertilizer products and/or a high-protein animal feed ingredients. On-going research was also carried out on various aspects of nutrient releases and atmospheric emissions.

 

Bion discontinued operation of the DeVries demonstration research system during 2008.

 

During the 2005-2008 period, Bion focused on completing development of its 2G Tech platform and business model.  As such, we did not pursue near term sales and revenue opportunities, such as retrofitting existing CAFO's with interim versions of our waste management solutions, because such efforts would have diverted scarce management and financial resources and negatively impacted our ability to complete development of an integrated technology platform in support of large-scale sustainable Projects.

 

From 2009 through the present period, Bion has  actively pursued business opportunities in three broad areas 1) Bion systems to retrofit of existing CAFO’s (some of which may  generate verified nutrient credits and revenues from the production of renewable energy and byproducts) (“Retrofits”), and 2) development of new state-of-the-art large scale waste treatment facilities, potentially in conjunction with new CAFOs developed in strategic locations that were not previously possible due to environmental constraints in strategic locations (“Projects”) (some of these may be “closed loop’ Integrated Projects that were not previously possible due to environmental constraints as described below), and 3) licensing and/or joint venturing of Bion’s technology (primarily) outside North America. Bion is pursuing these opportunities within the United States and internationally. Launch of our 3G Tech (for use in all these areas) is anticipated during2020/2021.

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We believe significant Retrofit opportunities exist that will enable us to generate future revenue streams from Bion's 2G and 3G Tech. The initial Retrofit opportunities we are pursuing have related to the existing clean-up program for the Chesapeake Bay ('Chesapeake Bay Program' or 'CB Program'). The Company has at times deployed some of its limited resources toward an initiative in the Great Lakes/North Central states that has not yet yielded any contracts. The Company anticipates that further opportunities for our remediation/retrofit business will develop in other areas with CAFO’s, including the watersheds of the Great Lakes (from New York to Minnesota), the extended Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico watershed (including its tributaries from Pennsylvania in the east to Montana/Wyoming/Colorado in the west), and other areas with excess nutrient pollution from agriculture in general and CAFO’s in particular.

 

Over the past 36 months the Company has undertaken research and development efforts to develop the 3G Tech (and related applications) with emphasis on increasing efficiency and increasing recovery of high value by-products (organic and inorganic), which efforts continue during the current fiscal year.

 

Chesapeake Bay Watershed: Kreider Farms Projects/Pennsylvania Initiatives

 

The urgency and priority of the need to clean up nutrient (primarily nitrogen and phosphorus) pollution to the Chesapeake Bay was clearly demonstrated with promulgation of President Obama's 2009 Executive Order concerning clean-up of the Chesapeake Bay and the EPA’s publication and issuance during December 2010 of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) standard (http://www.epa.gov/reg3wapd/tmdl/ChesapeakeBay/tmdlexec.html) for nutrient pollution in Chesapeake Bay tributaries. In May 2010, the EPA published their overall strategy for remediating the Chesapeake Bay, and they have committed to reducing nitrogen and phosphorus flows to the Bay sufficiently to enable 60% of the Bay watershed segments to meet water quality standards by 2025.  At that time, 89 of the 92 Bay and tidal watershed segments were not in compliance with water quality standards (97% were out of compliance).  The EPA and associated state agencies also committed to short-term 3-year compliance milestones to enhance accountability and corrective actions, along with a host of definable and measurable goals, enhanced partnerships, and major environmental initiatives.  Based on these actions, greater compliance has been required commencing with the 2016 ‘water year’.  EPA documents defined the overall mission as requiring an approximately 65-million-pound annual reduction from existing nitrogen (N) loading to the Chesapeake Bay by 2025, of which 35 million pounds was allocated to Pennsylvania. Importantly, the 3-year compliance milestones were established as a part of the compliance program to add both short- and long-term accountability to state actions associated with reduced nutrient and sediment flows to the Chesapeake Bay. According to the EPA’s Interim Evaluation of Pennsylvania’s Milestone Progress published in June 2015, PA was 14.6 million pounds behind its 2014-2015 milestone commitments for nitrogen, a remarkably large deficit given the previously stated 2-million-pound deficit from the 2012-2013 water year.  EPA has placed PA’s agriculture and urban/suburban sectors under a “Backstop Actions Level”, the highest level of EPA oversight.  EPA has also stated that if load reductions remain off track, EPA may consider seeking additional (and expensive) pollutant reductions from the wastewater sector.  

 

In an effort to get back on track and hold off federal intervention, PA unveiled a purported “comprehensive strategy” to "reboot" the state's efforts to improve water quality in January 2016.  The reboot strategy relied upon a mix of enhanced farm compliance and enforcement activities along with the promotion of additional best management practices (BMP).  This proposed strategy has been met with skepticism about its efficacy/practicality and resistance within the agricultural community. While many of these reboot efforts are continuing today, the PADEP Secretary resigned in May 2016 and PA appears to have slowed implementation efforts recently while seeking alternative approaches to reduce PA’s nitrogen pollution to the Chesapeake Bay. The budget spending package that was passed by the PA legislature in July 2018 contained no new funding for clean water related to either the Chesapeake Bay compliance mandates or state water quality.

 

As a result of PA’s default of its Bay mandates, and the host of upcoming both short and long-term specific commitments and compliance deadlines, Bion believes that its long-term opportunity related to the Chesapeake Bay clean-up has potentially been significantly expanded and accelerated.

 

During 2008, Bion executed an agreement to install a Bion System at the Kreider Farms (“KF”) in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to reduce nitrogen (including ammonia emissions which are re-deposited as nitrogen from the atmosphere) and phosphorus in the farm's effluent. Bion undertook this project due, in large part, to Pennsylvania's nutrient credit trading program, which was established to provide cost-effective reductions of the excess flow of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) into the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Bion worked extensively with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection ('PADEP') over several years to establish nutrient credit calculation/ verification methodologies that were appropriate to Bion's 2G Tech and recognizes its 'multi-media' (both water and atmospheric) approach to nutrient reductions.  Pennsylvania's nutrient credit trading program allows for voluntary credit trading between a 'non-point source' (such as a dairy or other agricultural sources) and a 'point source' polluter, such as a municipal waste water treatment plant or a housing development. For example, pursuant to this program, since Bion can reduce the nutrients from an existing dairy much more cost-effectively than a municipal wastewater treatment plant can reduce nutrients to meet its baseline, a municipal facility can purchase nutrient reduction credits (‘Credits’) from Bion to offset its nutrient discharges, rather than spending significantly more money to make (and operate) the plant upgrades necessary to achieve its own reductions. However, the market for long term Credits in PA has failed to develop any significant breadth or depth and no Credits have been sold from the Kreider 1 system.

 

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During May 2008, the PADEP approved Bion's initial protocols to determine how many tradable nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) credits Bion would receive for nutrient reductions achieved through installation of its comprehensive dairy waste management 2G Tech Kreider 1 project pursuant to PA's efforts under the Chesapeake Bay Program mandates. During April 2010, the PADEP issued an amended certification.  The PADEP's approval includes the certification of credits, both for ammonia air emission reductions, and for significantly reducing the leaching and runoff potential of land-applied nutrients. The PADEP has certified the Kreider 1 dairy system for 107 nitrogen and 13 phosphorus credits (each credit represents an annual pound of reduction) for each of the 1,200 dairy cows (subject to testing and verification based on operational data). Bion's agreements with Kreider Farms provide for the Kreider 1 System to expand through-put to treat the waste from the Kreider dairy support herd after the PADEP has verified the operating results. It is anticipated that this expansion will take place and lead to a proportionate increase in credits generated for sale, only if a more robust market for long term nutrient reductions develops.

 

The economics (potential revenues, profitability and continued operation) of the Kreider 1 System were based almost entirely on the long-term sale of nutrient (nitrogen and/or phosphorus) reduction credits to meet the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay environmental clean-up. See below for further discussion.

 

Pursuant to the KF agreements, Kreider 1 system to treat KF's dairy waste streams to reduce nutrient releases to the environment, while generating marketable nutrient credits and renewable energy, was designed, constructed and entered full-scale operation during 2011. On January 26, 2009, the Board of the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (“Pennvest”) approved a $7.75 million loan to Bion PA 1, LLC (“PA1”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, for the initial Kreider Farms project (“Kreider 1”). After substantial unanticipated delays, on August 12, 2010, PA1 received a permit for construction of the Kreider 1 system.  Construction activities commenced during November 2010.  The closing/settlement of the Pennvest Loan took place on November 3, 2010.  PA1 finished the construction of the Kreider 1 System and entered a period of system ‘operational shakedown’ during May 2011.  The Kreider 1 System reached full, stabilized operation by the end of the 2012 fiscal year.  During 2011, the PADEP re-certified the nutrient credits for this project.  The PADEP issued final permits for the Kreider 1 System (including the credit verification plan) on August 1, 2012, on which date the Company deemed that the Kreider System was ‘placed in service’.  As a result, PA1 commenced generating nutrient reduction credits for potential sale, while continuing to utilize the Kreider 1 system to test technology improvements and add-ons. However, substantial liquidity in the Pennsylvania nutrient credit market for long term nutrient reduction credits has never developed significant breadth and depth, which limited liquidity/depth has negatively impacted Bion's business plans and has made it impossible to economically monetize the nutrient reductions created by PA1's Kreider 1 project (and Bion's other proposed projects in PA). These difficulties have prevented PA1 from generating any material revenues from the Kreider 1 project to date and it is unlikely that PA1 will ever be able to generate such revenues from the Kreider 1 system (as designed and constructed). PA1 had sporadic discussions/negotiations with Pennvest related to forbearance and/or re-structuring its obligations pursuant to the Pennvest Loan for more than three years. In the context of such discussions/negotiations, PA1 elected not to make interest payments to Pennvest on the Pennvest Loan since January 2013.  Additionally, PA1 has not made any principal payments, which were to begin in fiscal 2013, and, therefore, the Company has classified the Pennvest Loan as a current liability as of June 30, 2020.  Due to the failure of the PA nutrient reduction credit market to develop, the Company determined that the carrying amount of the property and equipment related to the Kreider 1 project exceeded its estimated future undiscounted cash flows based on certain assumptions regarding timing, level and probability of revenues from sales of nutrient reduction credits and, therefore, PA1 and the Company recorded impairments related to the value of the Kreider 1 assets of $1,750,000 and $2,000,000 at June 30, 2015 and June 30, 2014, respectively.  During the 2016 fiscal year, effective June 30, 2016, PA1 and the Company recorded an impairment of $1,684,562 to the value of the Kreider 1 assets which reduced the value on the Company’s books to zero.  This impairment reflects management’s judgment that the salvage value of the Kreider 1 assets roughly equaled PA1’s contractual obligations related to the Kreider 1 system, including expenses related to decommissioning of the Kreider 1 system, costs associated with needed capital upgrade expenses, and re-certification/ permitting amendments.

 

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On September 25, 2014, Pennvest exercised its right to declare the Pennvest Loan in default and accelerated the Pennvest Loan and demanded that PA1 pay $8,137,117 (principal, interest plus late charges) on or before October 24, 2014. PA1 did not make the payment and does not have the resources to make the payments demanded by Pennvest. PA1 commenced discussions and negotiations with Pennvest concerning this matter but Pennvest rejected PA1's proposal made during the fall of 2014. As of the date of this report, no proposals (formal or informal) are under consideration and only sporadic communication has taken place regarding the matters involved over the last 6+ years. It is not possible at this date to predict the outcome of this matter given the extended period which has passed without resolution and that fact that the technology employed in the Kreider 1 system is now outdated. However, the Company believes that a loan modification agreement (coupled with an agreement regarding an update and restart of full operations of KF1) may in the future be possible in conjunction with the Kreider 2 Project described below) may be reached in the future if/when a more robust market for nutrient reductions develops in PA, of which there is no assurance. The Covid-19 pandemic has further increased uncertainties. PA1 and Bion will continue to evaluate various options with regard to Kreider 1 over the next 6-12 months.

 

The projected economics (potential revenues, profitability and continued operation) of the Kreider 1 System were based almost entirely on the long-term sale of nutrient (nitrogen and/or phosphorus) reduction credits to meet the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay environmental clean-up. See below for further discussion.

 

During August 2012, the Company provided Pennvest (and the PADEP) with data demonstrating that the Kreider 1 system met the 'technology guaranty' standards which were incorporated in the Pennvest financing documents and, as a result, the Pennvest Loan is now solely an obligation of PA1. However, the Company’s consolidated balance sheet as of June 30, 2020 reflects the Pennvest Loan as a liability of $9,585,883 despite the fact that the obligation (if any) solely an obligation of PA 1.

 

The Company is currently not operating the Kreider 1 System but continues to ensure that some equipment maintenance work takes place pending development of a more robust market for its nutrient reductions and/or its potential inclusion within the Kreider 2 Project as discussed above.

 

As a result of the extended period of Kreider 1 full-scale, commercial operations, Bion is confident that future Bion systems can be constructed with even higher operational efficiencies at lower capital expense and with lower operational costs.  Operating results of the Kreider 1 system have documented the efficacy of Bion’s nutrient reduction technology and vetted potential ‘add-ons’ for future installations.

 

The original Kreider agreements provided for Bion to develop a waste treatment/renewable energy production facility to treat the waste from Kreider's approximately 6+ million chickens (planned to expand to approximately 9-10 million)(and potentially other poultry operations and/or other waste streams)('Kreider Renewable Energy Facility' or ' Kreider 2 Project'). On May 5, 2016, the Company executed a stand-alone joint venture agreement with Kreider Farms covering all matters related to development and operation of a system to treat the waste streams from Kreider's poultry facilities in Bion PA2 LLC ("PA2"). The Company continues its development work related to the details of the Kreider 2 Project. During May 2011 the PADEP certified Kreider 2 2G Tech Project design for 559,457 nutrient credits under the old EPA's Chesapeake Bay model. The Company anticipates that the 3G Tech Kreider 2 Project will be re-certified for between 2-4 million (or more) nutrient reduction credits (for treatment of the waste stream from Kreider's poultry) pursuant to a future reapplication (or subsequent amended application) pursuant to the amended EPA Chesapeake Bay model and 2018 agreements between the EPA and PA. Note that this Project may be expanded in the future to treat wastes from other local and regional CAFOs (poultry and/or dairy – including the Kreider Dairy) and/or Kreider poultry expansion (some of which may not qualify for nutrient reduction credits). The review process to clarify certain issues related to credit calculation and verification commenced during 2014 based on Bion’s 2G Tech but has been largely placed on hold while certain matters are resolved between the EPA and PA and pending development of a robust market for nutrient reductions in PA. The Company anticipates it will submit an amended application based on our 3G Technology once these matters are clear. Site specific design and engineering work for this facility, which may be one of the first full-scale projects to utilize Bion's 3G Tech, have not commenced, and the Company does not yet have financing in place for the Kreider 2 Project. This opportunity is being pursued through PA2. If there are positive developments related to the market for nutrient reductions in PA, of which there is no assurance, the Company intends to pursue development, design and construction of the Kreider 2 Project with a goal of achieving operational status of its initial modules during the 2021 calendar year, and hopes to enter into agreements related to sales of the nutrient reduction credits for future delivery (under long term contracts) during the 2021 fiscal year subject to verification by the PADEP based on operating data from the Kreider 2 Project. The economics (potential revenues and profitability) of the Kreider 2 Project, despite its use of Bion's 3G Tech for increased recovery of marketable by-products, are based in material part the long-term sale of nutrient (nitrogen and/or phosphorus) reduction credits to meet the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay environmental clean-up. However, liquidity in the PA nutrient credit market has not developed significant breadth and depth, which lack of liquidity has negatively impacted Bion's business plans and will most likely continue delay PA2's Kreider 2 Project and other proposed projects in PA.

 

 

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Note that Bion believes that the Kreider 2 Project and/or subsequent Bion Projects will eventually generate revenue from the sale of: a) nutrient reductions (credits or in other form), b) renewable energy (and related credits), c) sales of fertilizer products, and/or d) potentially, in time, credits for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, plus e) license fees related to a ‘sustainable brand’. We believe that the potential market is very large, but it is not possible to predict the exact timing and/or magnitude of these potential markets at this time.

 

The Kreider 2 poultry waste treatment facility in PA may be the Company’s initial Project utilizing our 3G Technology. Bion anticipates that it will select a site for the Kreider 2 Project and/or its initial Integrated Project (and possibly additional Projects) during the current fiscal year if SB575 (or a successor) becomes law in PA (including funding). Bion hopes to commence development of this Project by optioning land and beginning the site specific design and permitting process during the current year, but delays are possible. It is not possible at this time to firmly predict where this Project will be developed or the order in which Projects will be developed. All potential Projects are in very early pre-development stages and may never progress to actual development or may be developed after other Projects not yet under active consideration.

 

Several independent studies have calculated the average cost to remove nitrogen through various sector practices. Reports prepared for the PA Senate (2008), Chesapeake Bay Commission (2012) and PA legislature (2013; described below and updated during 2018), as well as the Maryland Chesapeake Bay Financing Strategy Report (2015), demonstrate that the cost to remove nitrogen (per pound on average) from agriculture is $44 to $54, municipal wastewater: $28 to $43, and storm water: $386 to $633. Pursuant to the PA legislative study, by replacing sector allocation (for all sectors) with competitive bidding, up to 80 percent savings could be achieved in PA’s Chesapeake Bay compliance costs ($1.5 billion annually) by 2025. If the legislative study had focused on the cost differentials of competitive bidding compared only with storm water, the savings would be substantially greater.

 

Since these studies were completed, most of the larger (Tier 1) municipal wastewater treatment plants in PA have been upgraded, at a cost of approximately $2.5 billion (vs initial 2004 PA DEP cost estimates of $376 million). US EPA is now focused on PA’s storm water allocation (3.5 million pounds) and has this sector on ‘backstop level actions’, the highest level of EPA-oversight and the final step before sanctions. In the same 2004 PA DEP cost estimate that led to the more than a $2 billion underestimate/miscalculation in municipal wastewater plant upgrade costs, the estimate for storm water cost was $5.6 billion. In April 2017, US EPA sent a Letter of Expectation to PA DEP, expressing the agency’s support for the use of nutrient credit trading and competitive bidding to engage the private-sector to lower costs. The letter specifically encouraged the use of credit trading to offset the state’s looming storm water obligations.

 

Bion anticipates that it will be able to profitably sell nutrient credits from its Kreider facilities (and subsequent projects) if prices are in the range of $8-$12 (or higher) per lb. of nitrogen reduction, of which there is no assurance. Bion further believes that with the studies and information now available to other states that are (or will shortly be) facing these same decisions, a cost-benefit analysis will make it clear from the outset that credits from alternatives can provide dramatically lower-cost solutions than traditional strategies. .

 

On January 22, 2013, the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (“LBFC”) published a study (“Report”) detailing the economic and environmental benefits that would result from the implementation of a competitively bid, request for proposal (“RFP”) program for nitrogen reductions to fulfill Pennsylvania’s obligations under the US EPA-mandated Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (CB TMDL). We agree with and support the basic conclusions and recommendations of the Report. Links to both the full Report and a summary are available on the policy page of Bion’s website at www.biontech.com/policy.  The Report demonstrates that implementation of such a RFP program would result in dramatically lower cost compliance with Pennsylvania’s requirements under the CB TMDL and would also provide a host of additional environmental and economic benefits to Pennsylvania’s interior freshwater resources and communities.

 

The Report (which references Bion in numerous places) concluded that:

 

(1)Adoption of the competitively-bid RFP program would reduce Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay nutrient reduction compliance costs by up to 80% through the purchase of verified nitrogen reductions from all public and private sector sources, including technology providers such as Bion.  The Report estimates that adoption of a competitive RFP program for nitrogen reductions would result in reducing Pennsylvania’s compliance expenditures from a projected cost of $628M to $110M in 2015 and from $1.7B to $250M in 2025.  The Report further concludes that absent the implementation of cost-cutting measures, Pennsylvania’s compliance with the storm water and agricultural reduction mandates in the CB TMDL standard is at risk of default as there is insufficient funding available to comply under today’s existing cost structure. The CB TMDL was established by the US EPA to protect and restore the Bay after decades of decline in water quality and aquatic life due to excess nitrogen from the surrounding watershed.

 

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(2)The use of verified nitrogen reductions from agricultural (and primarily livestock) sources to achieve CB TMDL compliance will generate substantial economic and environmental benefits, well beyond the cost savings of the CB TMDL compliance itself.  These ancillary benefits are in the form of increased agricultural investments and significant improvements to the State’s local fresh water resources.

 

(3)Adoption would significantly reduce nitrogen and phosphorous impacts to local freshwater resources such as streams, lakes and groundwater, thereby reducing long term freshwater quality compliance costs. These local reductions would be a by-product of achieving Chesapeake Bay reductions since it requires (on average) the upstream reduction of two to five pounds of nitrogen and as much as twenty pounds of phosphorous to achieve a one pound reduction of these nutrients to the Chesapeake Bay.  The long term economic value and environmental benefits to interior freshwater sources could well be greater than the downstream estuary cost savings and benefits.

 

The Report was updated in 2018 to reflect new policies. It now projects savings of up to 95 percent – $340 million in costs versus $6.5 billion. As discussed in the original study, much of the savings were due to low-cost high-impact manure control projects.

 

The Report’s conclusions support adoption of a competitive bidding platform for nitrogen reductions as a cost-effective solution to the high costs facing state and local tax and rate payers. The Report also demonstrates that this strategy would provide tangible environmental, economic, quality of life and health benefits to those upstream rural communities which have shouldered much of the economic cost of downstream nutrient reductions, with little or no benefit to their local communities.

 

In 2013, a report was issued by Pennsylvania State University (https://www.usda.gov/oce/environmental_markets/files/EconomicTradingCBay.pdf) which the PADEP Secretary in 2016 described as the most reliable estimate of the amount of financial resources required to fully implement non-point source best management practices (BMPs) called for in Pennsylvania’s Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP). This report provided two estimates. The first estimate showed a need for $3.6 billion in capital costs to fully implement all non-point source BMPs in the WIP, in incremental levels between 2011 and 2025. The second estimate annualized costs through 2025 and included operation and maintenance (O&M) costs, resulting in a figure of $378.3 million per year. Overall, this 2013 PSU study projected the state would need $378 million per year for 15 years, including O&M totaling $5.6 billion to place in service a sufficient number of designated BMPs to achieve reductions of 24 million pounds of nitrogen annually.  The 2013 PSU study was completed prior to guidance issued by US EPA Region 3 in 2014 which was adopted by the PADEP as a requirement for a one-for-three ‘uncertainty factor’ be applied to BMPs in PA, since their actual performance is now known to be substantially less than previously modelled. Accounting for the uncertainty factor, PA’s BMP cost estimate per the PSU study would need to be increased to $16.8 billion (three times the $5.6 billion conclusion of the PSU study).

 

A significant portion of Bion’s current activities concern efforts with private and public stakeholders (at local and state level) in PA, (and other Chesapeake Bay, Midwest and Great Lakes states) and at the federal level (EPA and other executive departments and Congress) to establish appropriate public policies which will create regulations and funding mechanisms that foster installation of the low cost, technology-based  environmental solutions that Bion (and others) can provide through clean-up of agricultural waste streams. The Coalition for an Affordable Bay Solution (“Coalition”) was formed to support the creation of a competitively-bid nitrogen trading program in Pennsylvania that will enable Pennsylvania to capture the economic benefits outlined in the Report. The Coalition supports legislation to establish a competitively-bid RFP program for nitrogen reductions, where bids will also be ‘scored’ to reflect the value of the benefits to PA’s interior waterways and communities.  Founding members of the Coalition represent both Chesapeake Bay and national industry participants, and include Bion, JBS, SA, Kreider Farms, and Fair Oaks Farms. The Company believes that: i)  the April 2015 release of a report from the Pennsylvania Auditor General titled “Special Report on the Importance of Meeting Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Reduction Targets” which highlighted the economic consequences of EPA-imposed sanctions if the state fails to meet the 2017 TMDL targets, as well as the need to support using low-cost solutions and technologies as alternatives to higher-cost public infrastructure projects, where possible, and ii)  Senate Bill 575 (successor to prior SB 924, SB 724 and SB 799) which, if adopted, will establish a program that will allow the Pennsylvania’s tax- and rate-payers to meet their EPA-mandated Chesapeake Bay pollution reductions at significantly lower cost by purchasing verified reductions (by competitive bidding) from all sources, including those that Bion can produce through livestock waste treatment, represent visible evidence of progress being made on these matters in Pennsylvania. Such legislation, if passed and signed into law, will potentially enable Bion (and others) to compete for public funding on an equal basis with subsidized agricultural ‘best management practices’ and public works and storm water authorities. Note, however, that there has been vocal opposition to SB 575 (and its predecessors) from threatened stakeholders committed to the existing status quo approaches--- a significant portion of which was focused on attacking (in often inaccurate and/or vilifying ways) Bion in/through social media and internet articles, blogs, press releases, twitter posts and re-tweets, rather than engaging the substantive issues. If legislation similar to SB 575 is passed and implemented (in something close to its current form), Bion expects that the policies and strategies being developed in PA will not only benefit the Company’s existing and proposed PA projects, but will also subsequently provide the basis for a larger Chesapeake Bay watershed strategy and, thereafter, a national clean water strategy.

 

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The Company believes that Pennsylvania is ‘ground zero’ in the long-standing clean water battle between agriculture and the further regulation of agriculture relative to nutrient impacts. The ability of Bion and other technology providers to achieve verified reductions from agricultural non-point sources can resolve the current stalemate and enable implementation of constructive solutions that benefit all stakeholders, providing a mechanism that ensures that taxpayer funds will be used to achieve the most beneficial result at the lowest cost, regardless of source. All sources, point and non-point, rural and urban, will be able to compete for tax payer-funded nitrogen reductions in a fair and transparent process; and since payment from the tax and rate payers would now be performance-based, these providers will be held financially accountable.

 

We believe that the overwhelming environmental, economic, quality of life and public health benefits to all stakeholders in the watershed, both within and outside of Pennsylvania, make the case for adoption of the strategies outlined in the Report less an issue of ‘if’, but of ‘when and how’. The adoption of a competitive procurement program will have significant positive impact on technology providers that can deliver verified nitrogen reductions such as Bion, by allocating existing tax- and rate-payer clean water funding to low cost solutions based upon a voluntary and transparent procurement process. The Company believes that implementation of a competitively-bid nutrient reduction program to achieve the goals for the Chesapeake Bay watershed can also provide a working policy model and platform for other states to adopt that will enhance their efforts to comply with both current and future requirements for local and federal estuarine watersheds, including the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico, the Great Lakes Basin and other nutrient-impaired watersheds.

 

Bion estimates that the overall market opportunity for Bion in the Chesapeake Bay watershed is large and of long duration. Most (if not all) of the publicly proposed new (or upgraded) municipal waste water and storm water treatment facilities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed in PA, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC have projected costs (capital and operating) far in excess of the costs involved in reducing nutrients using Bion’s technology to treat CAFO wastes at the source. While regulatory and enforcement policy is still evolving and, therefore, the impact of those future policies upon Bion's operations cannot be precisely predicted and/or fully quantified, Bion believes that the tremendous difference between its cost to remove nutrients from a concentrated livestock manure waste stream and the cost required for reduction of nutrients from diluted conventional waste water and storm water treatment technologies, makes it reasonable to believe that Bion's potential profitability from projects in the Chesapeake Bay watershed should be significant. Based on the aggregate size of livestock operations in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, Bion believes that the potential market for reductions in nitrogen loadings to the Chesapeake Bay watershed from livestock can be reasonably anticipated to increase tenfold (or more) to total in excess of 75 million (or more) pounds annually (including airborne ammonia) over the next decade, with verified nutrient reductions potentially generated equaling 50% to 60% of that aggregate required nitrogen reduction. Bion hopes that some significant portion of the nutrient reductions related to this clean-up mandate will be made by Bion Systems (which portion cannot be reasonably estimated at this time).

 

We believe that the credits from the (now dis-continued) Kreider 1 dairy project (verified by the PADEP) represented the first nutrient credits from ‘multi-media’ (air and water) reductions from an unregulated, non-point source (livestock) technology-based project to be verified (including ammonia reductions). These credits will be equivalent to municipal wastewater treatment plant reductions, once regulatory issues are resolved.  Further, we believe this will provide, over time, a basis for credit trading basin-wide throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed (beyond just Pennsylvania where the credits are being generated to the other states and Washington, DC). An established basin-wide trading program will potentially broaden the market for credits from smaller local watersheds to the entire Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Both USEPA and Maryland DNR have expressed support for basin-wide trading for the Bay.

 

Bion has undertaken, and will continue to pursue, work to establish appropriate public policies to facilitate environmental clean-up of CAFOs in the Chesapeake Bay states and at the federal level and in other locales.

 

Bion also believes that it is reasonable to assume that a version of the Chesapeake Bay Program strategies developed by the US EPA and various state regulatory agencies to address the issue of excess nitrogen loadings to the Chesapeake Bay watershed clean-up, will be subsequently applied to deal with the much larger nutrient pollution problems of the Mississippi River Basin that are a primary cause of the 'Dead Zone' in the Gulf of Mexico and similar problems in the Great Lakes and elsewhere. The US EPA has stated the intention that the strategies being developed for the Chesapeake Bay will be utilized in the Mississippi River Basin and other watersheds in the U.S. Note, however, that such an EPA initiative is certain to generate significant political opposition.  The Mississippi River Basin alone has been estimated to require more than 1 billion pounds of annual nitrogen reduction to remediate the ‘dead zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico. Applying the same metrics as above (Bion’s ability to profitably provide nitrogen reductions at a cost of $8-12 per pound per year compared to municipal wastewater and storm water removal costs of $35 or higher per pound per year), using Bion-type solutions would represent a potential benefit in excess of $25 billion annually to tax- and rate-payers of the 31 Mississippi River Basin states and the federal government. We believe that Bion will potentially have large business opportunities for utilization of its technology as efforts to clean up such polluted areas develop, but at present such opportunities are not quantifiable nor can a definitive timeline be predicted.

 

 

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RECENT FINANCINGS

 

Sales of Common Stock during 2020 and 2019 Fiscal Years

 

During the year ended June 30, 2020, the Company sold 3,168,001 shares of its unregistered common stock (not including 29,000 shares issued to entities for services and 143,316 shares issued upon conversion of debt).  During the year ended June 30, 2020,  the Company sold 18,000 units at $0.50  per unit and received gross proceeds of $9,000 and net proceeds of $8,100; each unit  consisting of one share of the Company’s restricted common stock and one half  warrant to purchase half a share of the Company’s restricted common stock at $0.75 until December 31, 2020.   During the year ended June 30, 2020, the Company also sold  2,000,001 units at $0.50 per unit, and received gross proceeds of $1,000,000 and net proceeds of $910,500 with each unit consisting of one share of the Company’s restricted common stock and one warrant to purchase one share of the Company’s restricted common stock at $0.75 per share until December 31, 2020.  In addition, the Company also sold 1,150,000 units at$0.50 per unit and received gross proceeds of $575,000 and net proceeds of $517,500 with each unit consisting of one share of the Company’s restricted common stock and one warrant to purchase one share of the Company’s restricted common stock at $0.75 until December 31, 2021.     During the year ended June 30, 2020, Mark Smith elected to convert a loan payable, accrued expenses and interest of $15,000, $52,830 and $3,828 respectively, into an aggregate 143,316 units at $0.50 per unit, pursuant to the 2006 Consolidated Incentive Plan with each unit consisting of one share of the common stock and one warrant to purchase one share of the Company’s stock for $0.75 per share until December 31, 2024.

 

During the year ended June 30, 2019, the Company sold 1,793,606 shares of its unregistered common stock (not including the issuance of 18,162 shares to an employee pursuant to its 2006 Consolidated Incentive Plan, 116,000 shares issued to entities for services and 200,000 shares issued upon conversion of debt). During the year ended June 30, 2019, the Company sold 1,793,606 unregistered shares at $0.50 per share and received gross proceeds of $896,801 and net proceeds of $832,921 including units consisting of one share of the Company’s restricted common stock and one warrant to purchase half of a share of the Company’s restricted common stock at $0.75 per share with expiry dates ranging from June 30, 2019 through December 31, 2020. The Company also issued 1,028 shares of common stock as commissions.

              

COMPETITION

 

There are a significant number of competitors in the waste treatment industry who are working on animal related pollution issues. Probably the most efficient way to assess competition in this industry is to review the Newtrient Technology Catalog, a service provided by Newtrient which is an organization created by the dairy industry to help farmers, technology providers, manure-based product developers and other stakeholders assess manure related challenges and opportunities. Many of the technologies reviewed by and organized by Newtrient in their catalog, such as Bion, address manure streams in addition to dairy. The potential competition has increased with the growing governmental and public concern focused on pollution due to CAFO wastes.  Waste treatment lagoons which depend on anaerobic microorganisms ("anaerobic lagoons") are the most common traditional treatment process for animal waste on large farms within the swine and dairy industries.  Additionally, many beef feedlots, poultry facilities and dairy farms simply scrape and accumulate manure for later field application. Both lagoon and scrape/pile manure storage approaches are coming under increasing regulatory pressure due to associated odor, nutrient management and water quality issues and are facing possible phase-out in some states.  Although we believe that Bion’s comprehensive solution is the most economically and technologically viable solution for the current problems, other alternative (though partial) solutions do exist, including, for example, synthetic lagoon covers (which are placed on the top of the water in the lagoon to trap the gases), methane digesters (a tank which uses anaerobic microorganisms to break down the waste to produce methane), multistage anaerobic lagoons and solids separators (processes which separate large solids from fine solids), as well as various thermal waste-to-energy technologies.  Additionally, many efforts are underway to develop and test new technologies.

 

Our ability to compete is dependent upon favorable regulatory conditions, our ability to obtain required approvals and permits from regulatory and other authorities and upon our ability to introduce and market our Systems in the appropriate industry and geographic segments.

 

There is also extensive competition in the organic soil amendment/fertilizer and feed ingredient markets.  There are many companies that are already selling products to satisfy demand in the sectors of these markets we are trying to enter.  Many of these companies have established marketing and sales organizations and customer commitments, are supporting their products with advertising, sometimes on a national basis, and have developed brand name recognition and customer loyalty in many cases. Because Bion systems offer a comprehensive solution that is designed to produce up to four separate and distinct revenue streams, the Company believes that it has the ability to be more competitive in any one of the sectors from which it derives revenue.

 

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DEPENDENCE ON ONE OR A FEW MAJOR CUSTOMERS

 

In our JVs/Projects (including Integrated Projects) business segment, we will most likely be dependent upon one or a few major customers/partners/joint venturers since a relatively limited number of JVs and/or Projects (including Integrated Projects) will be developed by the Company. We anticipate initially developing, owning interests in, and operating only one or a few Projects commencing during 2021, and, thereafter, developing a limited number of Projects at a time. Thus, at least for the near future, our revenues will be dependent on a relatively small number of major Projects, participants and/or customers.

 

In our CAFO Retrofit/remediation business segment, we currently have only built one system and it is no longer operating and only have contracts with only a single party. However, there are thousands of CAFO’s in the United States and we anticipate that in the future we will have agreements with many CAFO customers.

 

PATENTS

 

We are the sole owner of nine United States patents. Bion also owns one Australian patent, two Canadian patents, one patent from New Zealand and two patents from Mexico.

 

Patent Numbers and date of issue:

 

United States Currently Issued:

 

(1)6,689,274:  Low Oxygen Organic Waste Bioconversion System: (NdeN) Jere Northrop & James W. Morris (Exp 6/28/2021)
(2)6,908,495:  Low Oxygen Organic Waste Bioconversion System: (NdeN+divisional) Jere Northrop & James W. Morris (Exp 5/2/2021)
(3)7,431,839:  Low Oxygen Biologically Mediated Nutrient Removal: (NdeN+PwA) James W. Morris & Jere Northrop (Exp 12/26/2021)
(4)7,575, 685: Low Oxygen Biologically Mediated Nutrient Removal: (NdeN+PwoA) James W. Morris & Jere Northrop (Exp 2/8/2021)
(5)7,879,589:  Micro-Electron Acceptor Phosphorous Accumulating Organisms: (NdeN+PwoA Microbial) James W. Morris & Jere Northrop (Exp 11/10/20)
(6)8,039,242:  Low Oxygen Biologically Mediated Nutrient Removal: (NdeN+PwoA Microbial) James W. Morris & Jere Northrop (Exp 11/10/20)
(7)8,287,734:  Method for Treating Nitrogen in Waste Streams: (OCN) Jere Northrop & James W. Morris (Exp 3/20/31)
(8)10,106,447: Process to Recover Ammonium Bicarbonate from Wastewater: Morton Orentlicher & Mark M. Simon. (Exp. 9/14/2035)
(9)10,604,432: Process to Recover Ammonium Bicarbonate from Wastewater; Dominic Bassani, Steve Pagano, Morton Orentlicher & Mark M. Simon. (Exp 6/29/2037)

 

 

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Australia Issued:

 

(1)2002/227224: Low Oxygen Organic Waste Bioconversion System: (NdeN) Jere Northrop & James W. Morris (Exp 11/8/2021)

 

Canada Issued:

 

(1)2,428,417: Low Oxygen Organic Waste Bioconversion System: (NdeN) Jere Northrop & James W. Morris (Exp 11/8/21).
(2)2,503,166: Low Oxygen Biologically Mediated Nutrient Removal: (NdeN+PwA) Jere Northrop & James W. Morris (Exp 11/8/21).

 

Mexico Issued:

 

(1)240,124: Low Oxygen Organic Waste Bioconversion System; 9/8/06 (notified 3/26/07) (NdeN) Jere Northrop & James W. Morris (Exp 11/8/2021)
(2)263,375: Low Oxygen Organic Waste Bioconversion System: (NdeN) Jere Northrop & James W. Morris (Exp 11/8/2021)

 

New Zealand Issued:

 

(1)526,342: Low Oxygen Organic Waste Bioconversion System: (NdeN) Jere Northrop & James W. Morris (Exp 11/8/2021)

 

We are also the sole owner of, or possess the contractual right to acquire exclusive patent rights to, two pending United States patent applications (one of which has received a Notice of Allowance) and two international (PCT) patent applications as set forth below:

 

United States Currently Pending:

 

(1)16/139,709: Process to Recover Ammonium Bicarbonate from Wastewater; Dominic Bassani, Steve Pagano, Morton Orentlicher & Mark M. Simon (Notice of Allowance received).

(2)16/790,390: Process to Recover Ammonium Bicarbonate from Wastewater; Dominic Bassani, Steve Pagano, Morton Orentlicher & Mark M. Simon.

 

International (PCT) Currently Pending:

 

(1)PCT/US2016/13254: Process to Recover Ammonium Bicarbonate from Wastewater: Morton Orentlicher & Mark M. Simon. (Application Published).
(2)PCT/US2018/67247: Process to Recover Ammonium Bicarbonate from Wastewater; Dominic Bassani, Steve Pagano, Morton Orentlicher & Mark M. Simon. (Application Published).

 

In addition to such factors as innovation, technological expertise and experienced personnel, we believe that a strong patent position is increasingly important to compete effectively in the businesses on which we are focused.  It is likely that we will file applications for additional patents in the future. There is, however, no assurance that any such patents will be granted.

 

The Company has elected to expense all costs and filing fees related to obtaining patents (resulting in no related asset being recognized in the Company’s consolidated balance sheets) because the Company believes such costs and fees are immaterial (in the context of the Company’s total costs/expenses) and have no direct relationship to the value of the Company’s patents.

It may become necessary or desirable in the future for us to obtain patent and technology licenses from other companies relating to technologies that may be employed in future products or processes.  To date, we have not received notices of claimed infringement of patents based on our existing processes or products, but due to the nature of the industry, we may receive such claims in the future.

 

We generally require all of our employees and consultants, including our management, to sign a non-disclosure and invention assignment agreements upon employment with us.

 

 

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RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

 

Current research and development work is focused toward completion of the development and ongoing improvement of our 3G Tech (the initial version of which is ready for implementation in an appropriate Project) with emphasis on increased recovery of valuable by-products (including nutrients in organic and/or non-organic forms, production of renewable energy from by-products together with related renewable energy and/or environmental credits). Bion believes its 3G Tech will produce significantly greater value from the CAFO waste stream through the recovery of a concentrated natural nitrogen fertilizer and pipeline-quality natural gas.

 

During the years ended June 30, 2020 and June 30, 2019, respectively, we expended approximately $438,000 and $435,000 (excluding non-cash stock-based compensation) on research and development activities related to our technology platform applications in support of large-scale, economically and environmentally sustainable Projects and Retrofits. . During the 2018 fiscal year, Bion’s research and development has been primarily focused on development work to complete and further refine development of our 3G Tech which will have the capacity to process dry, poultry CAFO waste streams (in addition to wet dairy/beef/swine CAFO waste streams) and increase our ability to recover marketable by-products from the waste stream remediation including renewable natural gas and nitrogen products (organic and non-organic). Some work  has also involved modifying and adding unit processes to our 3G Tech platform with the objective of reducing capital costs and operating costs, while generating commercial equivalent by-products (and therefore, potential revenue streams) and significantly increasing environmental efficiency. As a result of these efforts (including their continuation during the current period), Bion made new (and supplemental) patent filing(s) during the 2020 and 2019 fiscal years related to our 3G Tech. The Company anticipates completion of its pilot system and pre-commercial testing for its 3G Tech by end of the current calendar year to support design finalization for our initial 3G Tech systems. Our technology focus is to separate and aggregate the various “assets” in the waste stream and then to re-assemble them to maximize their economic value. Our current research and development efforts have been focused on developments that will minimize water removal requirements thereby significantly reducing the associated energy costs. In addition, current efforts are focused on fertilizer and soil amendment products (organic and inorganic), water reuse, environmental and reduction credits (including but not limited to nutrient, carbon, sediment, water and pathogen reduction) while reducing capital costs and operating costs. Bion continues to focus on “normalizing” its technology platform for use on multiple species. This effort has required significant work and resource allocation on research regarding balancing the activities of each unit process so that its output enables the subsequent unit processes to maximize efficiency and discharge to the subsequent unit process in order to produce a feedstock cost effectively. The by-products of this series of unit processes (which include certain Bion proprietary elements) are then “reassembled” into products to maximize their economic value. To date, research and development results have supported our objectives.

 

Environmental Protection/Regulation and Public Policy

 

In regards to Retrofits and development of Projects, we will be subject to extensive environmental (and other) regulations related to CAFO's, biofuel production and end product (e.g fertilizer) producers.  To the extent that we are a provider of systems and services to others that result in the reduction of pollution, we are not under direct enforcement or regulatory pressure.  However, we are involved in the business of CAFO waste treatment and are impacted by environmental regulations in at least five different ways:

 

•     Our marketing and sales success depends, to a substantial degree, on the pollution clean-up requirements of various governmental agencies, from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at the federal level to state and local agencies;

•     Our System design and performance criteria must be responsive to the changes in federal, state and local environmental agencies' effluent and emission standards and other requirements;

•     Our System installations and operations require governmental permits and/or other approvals in many jurisdictions;

•     To the extent we own or operate Projects (including Integrated Projects with CAFO facilities and ethanol plants), those facilities will be subject to environmental regulations; and

•     Appropriate public policies need to be developed and implemented to facilitate environmental clean-up at CAFOs and the sale of nutrient reductions from such activities in order for the Company to monetize the nutrient reductions generated by its facilities.

 

Additionally, our activities are affected by many public policies and regulations (federal, state and local) related to other industries such as municipal waste and storm water treatment, watershed-wide mandates, and others. For example, the existing differences in the regulatory requirements for agriculture versus municipal wastewater clean-up currently in place have negatively impaired the development of viable markets for nutrient reduction credits.

 

 

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EMPLOYEES

 

As of September 1, 2020, we had 6 employees and primary consultants, all of whom are performing services for the Company on a full-time basis. The Company utilizes other consultants and professionals on an ‘as needed’ basis. Our future success depends in significant part on the continued service of our key personnel and the ability to hire additional qualified personnel. The competition for highly qualified personnel is intense, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to retain our key managerial and technical employees or that we will be able to attract and retain additional highly qualified technical and managerial personnel in the future. None of our employees is represented by a labor union, and we consider our relations with our employees to be good. None of our employees is covered by "key person" life insurance.

 

ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS.

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES.

 

The Company maintains its corporate offices at 9 East Park Court, Old Bethpage, New York 11804, the offices of its office manager/bookkeeper, and its main corporate telephone number is (516) 586-5643.

 

We are the sole owner of seven United States patents plus one United States patent for which a Notice of Allowance has been received and one United States patent with revival pending. Bion also owns one Australian patent, two Canadian patents, one patent from New Zealand and two patents from Mexico and has one International (PCT) Currently Pending (See Item 1, “Patents” above).

 

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.

 

The Company is currently involved in no litigation matters.

 

On September 25, 2014, Pennvest exercised its right to declare the Pennvest Loan in default and has accelerated the Pennvest Loan and demanded that PA1 pay $8,137,117 (principal, interest plus late charges) on or before October 24, 2014.  PA1 did not make the payment and does not have the resources to make the payment demanded by Pennvest.  During August 2012, the Company provided Pennvest (and the PADEP) with data demonstrating that the Kreider 1 system met the ‘technology guaranty’ standards which were incorporated in the Pennvest financing documents and, as a result, the Pennvest Loan is now solely an obligation of PA1. However, the Company’s consolidated balance sheet as of June 30, 2020 reflects the Pennvest Loan as a liability of $9,585,883 despite the fact that the obligation (if any) solely an obligation of PA 1. PA1 commenced discussions and negotiations with Pennvest concerning this matter during 2014 but Pennvest rejected PA1’s most recent formal proposal made during the fall of 2014. No formal or informal proposals are presently under consideration and only sporadic communication has taken place regarding the matters involved over the last 5+ years. It is not possible at this date to predict the outcome of such this matter, but the Company believes that a loan modification agreement (coupled with an agreement regarding a technology update and re-start of full operations of the Kreider 1 System) may be reached in the context of the future development of the Kreider 2 system if/when a robust market for nutrient reductions develops in Pennsylvania, of which there is no assurance. PA1 and Bion will continue to evaluate various options with regard to Kreider 1 over the next six (6) to twelve (12) months.

 

Litigation has not commenced in this matter but has been threatened by Pennvest. Such litigation is likely if negotiations do not produce a resolution (although the likelihood is somewhat reduced by the passage of time).

 

The Company currently is not involved in any other material litigation.

 

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES.

 

None.

 

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PART II

 

ITEM 5.  MARKET FOR REGISTRANT'S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.

 

(a)  Market Information

 

Our common stock is quoted on the Over-The-Counter Electronic Bulletin Board under the symbol "BNET."  The following quotations reflect inter dealer prices, without retail mark up, markdown or commissions and may not represent actual transactions.

 

   2019  2020
Fiscal Year Ended June 30,  High  Low  High  Low
             
First Fiscal Quarter  $0.76   $0.45   $0.62   $0.43 
Second Fiscal Quarter  $0.71   $0.40   $0.56   $0.365 
Third Fiscal Quarter  $0.74   $0.57   $0.55   $0.381 
Fourth Fiscal Quarter  $0.80   $0.61   $0.59   $0.42 

 

(b) Holders

 

The number of holders of record of our common stock at September 1, 2020 was approximately 1,000. Many of our shares of common stock are held by brokers and other institutions on behalf of stockholders, so we are unable to estimate the number of stockholders represented by these record holders.

 

The transfer agent for our common stock is Equiniti, 3200 Cherry Creek Drive South, Suite 430, Denver, Colorado 80209.

 

(c) Dividends

 

We have never paid any cash dividends on our common stock. Our board of directors does not intend to declare any cash dividends in the foreseeable future, but instead intends to retain earnings, if any, for use in our business operations. The payment of dividends, if any, in the future is within the discretion of the board of directors and will depend on our future earnings, if any, our capital requirements and financial condition, and other relevant factors.

 

During each of fiscal year 2020 and 2019 the Company paid an aggregate dividend of $0 and $0, respectively, on shares of Series B Preferred Stock and Series C Preferred Stock which were outstanding during the year. A dividend of $2,000 was accrued on Series B Preferred Stock during each of the 2020 and 2019 fiscal years.

 

(d)  Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans

 

In June 2006 the Company adopted its 2006 Consolidated Incentive Plan, as amended ("Plan"), which terminated all prior plans and merged them into the Plan.  The Plan was ratified by the Company's shareholders in October 2006 (and has been amended multiple times since initial ratification).  Under the Plan, Directors may grant Shares, Options, Stand Alone Stock Appreciation Rights ("SAR's"), shares of Restricted Stock, shares of Phantom Stock and Stock Bonuses and other items with respect to a number of Common Shares that in the aggregate does not exceed 36,000,000 shares. The maximum number of Common Shares for which Incentive Awards, including Incentive Stock Options, may be granted to any one Participant shall not exceed 2,000,000 shares in any one calendar year; and the total of all cash payments to any one participant pursuant to the Plan in any calendar year shall not exceed $1,500,000. As of August 31, 2020, 9,511,600 options have been granted and are outstanding under the Plan (as amended), including all options granted under prior merged plans, and options granted from July 1, 2020 through September 1, 2020, all of which options are vested as of September 1, 2020.  As of June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2020, the Company had no outstanding contingent Stock Bonuses. 

 

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Equity Compensation Plan Information

 

The following table summarizes share and exercise price information about the Company’s equity compensation plans as of June 30, 2020:

 

Plan Category  Number of securities
to be
issued upon exercise of
outstanding options,
warrants and rights
  Weighted-average
exercise price of
outstanding options,
warrants and rights
  Number of securities
remaining available
for future issuance
under equity
compensation plans
          
Equity compensation plans approved by security holders   9,511,600    0.74    12,476,923 
                
Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders   —      —      —   
                
Total   9,511,600    0.74    12,476,923 

 

(e) Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

 

During the year ended June 30, 2020, the Company sold 3,168,001 shares of its unregistered common stock (not including 29,000 shares issued to entities for services and 143,316 shares issued upon conversion of debt).  During the year ended June 30, 2020,  the Company sold 18,000 units at $0.50  per unit and received gross proceeds of $9,000 and net proceeds of $8,100; each unit  consisting of one share of the Company’s restricted common stock and one half  warrant to purchase half a share of the Company’s restricted common stock at $0.75 until December 31, 2020.   During the year ended June 30, 2020, the Company also sold  2,000,001 units at $0.50 per unit, and received gross proceeds of $1,000,000 and net proceeds of $910,500 with each unit consisting of one share of the Company’s restricted common stock and one warrant to purchase one share of the Company’s restricted common stock at $0.75 per share until December 31, 2020.  In addition, the Company also sold 1,150,000 units at $0.50 per unit and received gross proceeds of $575,000 and net proceeds of $517,500 with each unit consisting of one share of the Company’s restricted common stock and one warrant to purchase one share of the Company’s restricted common stock at $0.75 until December 31, 2021.     During the year ended June 30, 2020, Mark Smith elected to convert a loan payable, accrued expenses and interest of $15,000, $52,830 and $3,828 respectively, into an aggregate 143,316 units at $0.50 per unit, pursuant to the 2006 Consolidated Incentive Plan with each unit consisting of one share of the common stock and one warrant to purchase one share of the Company’s stock for $0.75 per share until December 31, 2024. 

 

During the year ended June 30, 2019, the Company sold 1,793,606 shares of its unregistered common stock (not including the issuance of 18,162 shares to an employee pursuant to its 2006 Consolidated Incentive Plan, 116,000 shares issued to entities for services and 200,000 shares issued upon conversion of debt). During the year ended June 30, 2019, the Company sold 1,793,606 unregistered shares at $0.50 per share and received gross proceeds of $896,801 and net proceeds of $832,921 including units consisting of one share of the Company’s restricted common stock and one warrant to purchase half of a share of the Company’s restricted common stock at $0.75 per share with expiry dates ranging from June 30, 2019 through December 31, 2020. The Company also issued 1,028 shares of common stock as commissions.

             

ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA.

 

N/A

 

 

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ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.

 

Included in ITEM 8 are the audited Consolidated Financial Statements for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019 ("Financial Statements").

 

Statements made in this Form 10-K that are not historical or current facts, which represent the Company's expectations or beliefs including, but not limited to, statements concerning the Company's operations, performance, financial condition, business strategies, and other information, involve substantial risks and uncertainties. The Company's actual results of operations, most of which are beyond the Company's control, could differ materially. These statements often can be identified by the use of terms such as "may," "will," "expect," "believe," anticipate," "estimate," or "continue" or the negative thereof. We wish to caution readers not to place undue reliance on any such forward looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. Any forward-looking statements represent management's best judgment as to what may occur in the future. However, forward looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and important factors beyond our control that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from historical results of operations and events and those presently anticipated or projected.

 

These factors include adverse economic conditions, entry of new and stronger competitors, inadequate capital, unexpected costs, failure (or delay) to gain product or regulatory approvals in the United States (or particular states) or foreign countries, loss (permanently or for any extended period of time) of the services of members of the Company’s small core management team (all of whom are age 70 or older) and failure to capitalize upon access to new markets. Additional risks and uncertainties that may affect forward looking statements about Bion's business and prospects include the possibility that markets for nutrient reduction credits (discussed below) and/or other ways to monetize nutrient reductions will be slow to develop (or not develop at all), the existing default by PA1 on its loan secured by the Kreider 1 system, the possibility that a competitor will develop a more comprehensive or less expensive environmental solution, delays in market awareness of Bion and our Systems, uncertainties and costs related to research and development efforts to update and improve Bion’s technologies and applications thereof, and/or delays in Bion's development of Projects and failure of marketing strategies, each of which could have both immediate and long term material adverse effects by placing us behind our competitors and requiring expenditures of our limited resources.

 

THESE RISKS, UNCERTAINTIES AND FACTORS BEYOND OUR CONTROL ARE MAGNIFIED DURING THE CURRENT UNCERTAIN PERIOD RELATED TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND THE UNIQUE ECONOMIC, FINANCIAL, GOVERNMENTAL AND HEALTH-RELATED CONDITIONS IN WHICH THE COMPANY, THE ENTIRE COUNTRY AND THE ENTIRE WORLD NOW RESIDE.  TO DATE THE COMPANY HAS EXPERIENCED DIRECT IMPACTS  IN VARIOUS AREAS INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION: I) GOVERNMENT-ORDERED  SHUTDOWNS WHICH HAVE SLOWED THE COMPANY’S RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS AND OTHER INITIATIVES, II) SHIFTED FOCUS OF STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WHICH IS LIKELY TO NEGATIVELY IMPACT THE COMPANY’S LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES IN PENNSYLVANIA AND WASHINGTON DC, III) STRAINS AND UNCERTAINTIES IN BOTH THE EQUITY AND DEBT MARKETS HAVE MADE DISCUSSION AND PLANNING OF FUNDING OF THE COMPANY AND ITS INITIATIVES AND PROJECTS WITH INVESTMENT BANKERS, BANKS AND POTENTIAL STRATEGIC PARTNERS MORE TENUOUS, IV) STRAINS AND UNCERTAINTIES IN THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR AND MARKETS HAVE MADE DISCUSSION AND PLANNING OF FUNDING OF THE COMPANY AND ITS INITIATIVES AND PROJECTS MORE DIFFICULT AS FUTURE INDUSTRY CONDITIONS ARE NOW MORE DIFFICULT TO ASSESS/PREDICT, V) DUE TO THE AGE AND HEALTH OF OUR CORE MANAGEMENT TEAM, ALL OF WHOM ARE AGE 70 OR OLDER AND HAVE HAD ONE OR MORE EXISTING HEALTH ISSUES, THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC PLACES THE COMPANY AT GREATER RISK THAN WAS PREVIOUSLY THE CASE (TO A HIGHER DEGREE THAN WOULD BE THE CASE IF THE COMPANY HAD A LARGER, DEEPER AND/OR YOUNGER CORE MANAGEMENT TEAM), AND VI) THERE ALMOST CERTAINLY WILL BE OTHER UNANTICIPATED CONSEQUENCES FOR THE COMPANY AS A RESULT OF THE CURRENT PANDEMIC EMERGENCY AND ITS AFTERMATH.

 

Bion disclaims any obligation subsequently to revise any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements or to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events.

 

The following discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements and Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements filed with this Report.

 

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BUSINESS OVERVIEW

 

Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc.'s ("Bion," "Company," "We," "Us," or "Our") patented and proprietary technology provides comprehensive environmental solutions to one of the greatest water air and water quality problems in the U.S. today: pollution from large-scale livestock production facilities (also known as “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations” or ”CAFOs").  Application of our technology and technology platform can simultaneously remediate environmental problems and improve operational/resource efficiencies by recovering value high-value co-products from the CAFOs’ waste stream that has traditionally been wasted or underutilized, including renewable energy, nutrients (including ammonia nitrogen and phosphorus) and water. From 2016 to present, the Company has focused a large portion of its activities on developing, testing and demonstrating the 3rd generation of its technology and technology platform (“3G Tech”) with emphasis on increasing the efficiency of production of valuable by-products of its waste treatment including ammonia nitrogen in the form of organic ammonium bicarbonate products. The Company’s initial ammonium bicarbonate liquid product completed its Organic Materials Review Institute (“OMRI”) application and review process with approval during May 2020. (See discussion at “Organic Fertilizer products” in Item 1 above.)

 

The Company believes that, in addition to providing superior environmental remediation, its 3G Tech will create the opportunity for large scale production of sustainable and/or organic branded livestock products that will command premium pricing (in part due to ongoing monitoring and third party verification of environmental performance to provide meaningful assurances to both consumers and regulators). As co-products, our 3G Tech will produce valuable organic fertilizer products which can be: a) utilized in the production of organic grains for use as feed in support of joint venture Projects (“JVs”) raising organic livestock, and/or b) marketed to the growing organic fertilizer market. Our 3G Tech patented technology was developed to be part of a comprehensive technology platform that could generate multiple present and projected future revenue streams to offset the costs of technology adoption. Bion’s technology platform includes onsite monitoring and data collection as well as independent 3rd party verified lab data confirming the environmental reduction impacts. The third party verified data regarding the environmental impact reductions will also be used to qualify the final consumer products (livestock protein—including meat, eggs and dairy products) for a US Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) “Environmentally Sustainable” brand.

 

The $200 billion U.S. livestock industry is under intense scrutiny for its environmental and public health impacts – its ‘environmental sustainability’-- at the same time it is struggling with declining revenues and margins (derived in part from clinging to its historic practices and resulting impacts). Its failure to respond to consumer concerns ranging from food safety to its ‘socialized’ environmental impacts have provided impetus for plant-based alternatives such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger providing “sustainable” alternatives to this growing consumer segment of the market. The plant-based threat to the livestock industry market (primarily beef and pork) has succeeded in focusing the large scale livestock production facilities (also known as “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations” or “CAFOs") on how to meet the plant-based market challenge by addressing the consumer sustainability issues. The adoption of livestock waste treatment technology by industry segments is largely dependent upon adoption generating sufficient revenues to offset the capital and operating costs associated with technology adoption.

 

We believe that Bion’s 3G Tech platform, coupled with common-sense policy changes to U.S. clean water strategy that are already underway, will combine to provide a pathway to true economic and environmental sustainability with ‘win-win’ benefits for at least a premium sector of the livestock industry, the environment, and the consumer.

 

Bion’s business model and technology can open up the opportunity for JVs (in various contractual forms) between the Company and large livestock/food/fertilizer industry participants, based upon the supplemental cash flow generated by implementation our 3G Tech business model (described and discussed below) which will support the costs of technology implementation (including related debt). We anticipate this will result in long term value for Bion. Long term, Bion anticipates that the sustainable branding opportunity may expand to represent the single largest contributor to the economic opportunity provided by Bion.

 

33 
 
 

 

During 2018, the Company had its first patent issued on its 3G Tech and has continued its work to expand its patent coverage for our 3G Tech. In August 2020, the Company received a Notice of Allowance on its third patent which significantly expands the breadth and depth of the Company’s 3G Tech coverage. (See “Patents” below). The 3G Tech platform has been designed to maximize the value of co-products produced during the waste treatment/recovery processes, including pipeline-quality renewable natural gas and organic commercial fertilizer products. All processes will be verifiable by third-parties (including regulatory authorities, certifying boards and consumers) to comply with environmental regulations and trading programs and meet the requirements for: a) renewable energy credits, b) organic certification of the fertilizer coproducts and c) the USDA PVP ‘Environmentally Sustainable’ branding program (See discussion at Item 1 above and below herein.) Bion anticipates moving forward with the development process of its initial commercial installations of its 3G technology during the 2021 (current) and 2022 fiscal years.

 

In parallel, Bion has worked (which work continues) to advance public policy initiatives that will potentially create markets (in Pennsylvania and other states) that will utilize taxpayer funding for the purchase of verified pollution reductions from agriculture (“credits”) by the state (or others) through a competitively-bid procurement programs. Such credits can then be used as a ‘qualified offset’ by an individual state (or municipality) to meet its federal clean water mandates at significantly lower cost to the taxpayer. Competitive procurement of verified credits is now supported by US EPA, the Chesapeake Bay Commission, national livestock interests, and other key stakeholders. Legislation in Pennsylvania to establish the first such state competitive procurement program passed the Pennsylvania Senate by a bi-partisan majority during March 2019. However, the Covid-19 pandemic and related financial/budgetary crises have subsequently slowed progress for this and other policy initiatives and, as a result, it is not currently possible to project the timeline for this and other similar initiatives (see discuss at Item 1 above and below herein).

 

The livestock industry is under tremendous pressure ( from regulatory agencies, a wide range of advocacy groups, institutional investors and the industry’s own consumers) to adopt sustainable practices. Environmental cleanup is inevitable - policies are already changing. Bion’s 3G technology was developed for implementation on large scale livestock production facilities, where scale drives lower treatment costs and efficient production of co-products. We believe that scale, coupled with Bion’s verifiable treatment technology platform, will create a transformational opportunity to integrate clean production practices at (or close to) the point of production—the source from which most of the industry’s environmental impacts are initiated. Bion intends to assist the forward-looking segment of the livestock industry in actually bringing animal protein production in line with Twenty-first Century consumer demands for sustainability.

 

Bion’s 3G Tech and technology platform are designed to capture four revenue streams under one umbrella and provide the basis for joint ventures between the Company and larger livestock producers seeking to produce environmental/sustainable product lines. The revenue streams are: a) renewable energy and associated greenhouse gas credits (including US Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and/or Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) credits)(the value and availability of which will vary based on livestock type, geographical locations, and state regulatory programs), b) verified nutrient reductions (primarily nitrogen and phosphorus) that can be used as qualified offsets to the federal Chesapeake Bay mandate and US EPA TMDL (‘total maximum daily limit’) requirements (the value of which will vary based on livestock type, geographical locations, and state regulatory programs), c) co-products consisting of high value fertilizer for use in organic food production for human consumption and/or to grow feed for use by livestock in Projects, and d) an environmentally sustainable USDA certification that will be incorporated into a “brand” that can address the consumer concerns regarding food safety and sustainability (based on incorporation of all of the third party verified data for greenhouse gas reductions, nutrient reductions and fertilizer products into a digital register). The Company believes that the “branding” opportunity will offer large scale livestock producer / processor / distributors of livestock products the opportunity to differentiate and identify their products in the marketplace and, thereby creates the opportunity to achieve “premium pricing” by addressing consumer concerns related to safety and sustainability in a manner similar to the premiums achieved by organic producers.

 

34 
 
 

 

Operational results from the initial commercial system (Kreider 1 utilizing our 2G Tech) confirmed the ability of Bion’s technologies to meet nutrient reduction goals at commercial scale for an extended period of operation. Bion’s 3G Tech platform (and the new variations under development) center on its patented and proprietary processes that separate and aggregate the various assets in the CAFO waste stream so they become benign, stable and/or transportable. Bion systems can: a) remove up to 95% of the nutrients (primarily nitrogen and phosphorus) in the effluent, b) reduce greenhouse gases by 90% (or more) including elimination of virtually all ammonia emissions, c) while materially reducing pathogens, antibiotics and hormones in the livestock waste stream. Our core technology and its primary CAFO applications were now proven in the Kreider 1 commercial operations. It has been accepted by the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and other regulatory agencies and it is protected by Bion’s portfolio of U.S. and international patents (both issued and applied for).

Currently, our research and development activities are underway to improve, update and commercialization of our 3G Tech systems (which is ready to be implemented) during the current fiscal year to meet the needs of JVs in various geographic and climate areas with nutrient release constraints and to increase the recovery and generation of valuable co-products while adding the capability to treat dry (poultry) waste streams in addition to wet manure streams at lower capital costs and operating costs

Bion business activity is focused on using applications of its 3G Tech for utilization in JVs and Projects (including Integrated Projects) in which the Company will participate as developer, technology provider and direct participant. Currently our efforts and funds are being expended on pre-development activities related to: 1) the Kreider 2 poultry JV and 2) Midwest sustainable/organic grain-finished beef JV (see discussion at Item 1 above and below herein).

KREIDER 1 (HISTORY AND STATUS) 

During 2008 the Company commenced actively pursuing the opportunity presented by environmental retrofit and remediation of the waste streams of existing CAFOs which effort has met with very limited success to date. The first commercial activity in this area is represented by our agreement with Kreider Farms (“KF”), pursuant to which the Kreider 1 system to treat KF's dairy waste streams to reduce nutrient releases to the environment while generating marketable nutrient credits and renewable energy was designed, constructed and entered full-scale operation during 2011. On January 26, 2009 the Board of the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (“Pennvest”) approved a $7.75 million loan to Bion PA 1, LLC (“PA1”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, for the initial Kreider Farms project (“Kreider 1 System”). After substantial unanticipated delays, on August 12, 2010 PA1 received a permit for construction of the Kreider 1 System based our 2G Tech (which the Company is no longer implementing). Construction activities commenced during November 2010. The closing/settlement of the Pennvest Loan took place on November 3, 2010. PA1 finished the construction of the Kreider 1 System and entered a period of system ‘operational shakedown’ during May 2011. The Kreider 1 System reached full, stabilized operation by the end of the 2012 fiscal year. During 2011 the PADEP re-certified the nutrient credits for this project. The PADEP issued final permits for the Kreider 1 System (including the credit verification plan) on August 1, 2012 on which date the Company deemed that the Kreider 1 System was ‘placed in service’. As a result, PA1 commenced generating nutrient reduction credits for potential sale while continuing to utilize the Kreider 1 System to test improvements and add-ons. However, to date liquidity in the Pennsylvania nutrient credit market has failed to develop significant breadth and depth, which limited liquidity/depth has negatively impacted Bion’s business plans and has resulted in insurmountable challenges to monetizing the nutrient reductions created by PA1’s existing Kreider 1 project and Bion’s other proposed projects. These difficulties have prevented PA1 from generating any material revenues from the Kreider 1 project to date and raise significant questions as to when, if ever, PA1 will be able to generate such revenues from the Kreider 1 System which has now been inactive for several years. PA1 had sporadic discussions/negotiations with Pennvest related to forbearance and/or re-structuring its obligations pursuant to the Pennvest Loan for more than five years. In the context of such discussions/negotiations, PA1 elected not to make interest payments to Pennvest on the Pennvest Loan since January 2013. Additionally, the Company has not made any principal payments, which were to begin in fiscal 2013, and, therefore, the Company has classified the Pennvest Loan as a current liability as of June 30, 2020. Due to the failure of the Pennsylvania nutrient reduction credit market to develop, the Company determined that the carrying amount of the property and equipment related to the Kreider 1 project exceeded its estimated future undiscounted cash flows based on certain assumptions regarding timing, level and probability of revenues from sales of nutrient reduction credits and, therefore, PA1 and the Company recorded impairments related to the value of the Kreider 1 assets of $1,750,000 and $2,000,000 at June 30, 2015 and June 30, 2014, respectively. During the 2016 fiscal year, PA1 and the Company recorded an impairment of $1,684,562 to the value of the Kreider 1 assets which reduced the value on the Company’s books to zero ($0). This impairment reflects management’s judgment that the salvage value of the Kreider 1 assets roughly equals PA1’s contractual obligations related to the Kreider 1 System, including expenses related to decommissioning of the Kreider 1 System.

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On September 25, 2014, Pennvest exercised its right to declare the Pennvest Loan in default and accelerated the Pennvest Loan and demanded that PA1 pay $8,137,117 (principal, interest plus late charges) on or before October 24, 2014. PA1 did not make the payment and does not have the resources to make the payments demanded by Pennvest. PA1 commenced discussions and negotiations with Pennvest concerning this matter but Pennvest rejected PA1’s proposal made during the fall of 2014. As of the date of this report, no formal proposals are currently under consideration and only sporadic communication has taken place regarding the matters involved over the last 5 years. It is not possible at this date to predict the outcome of this matter, but the Company believes that a loan modification agreement (coupled with an agreement regarding an update and re-start of full operations of KF1) may be reached in the context of development of the Kreider 2 Project (see discussion at Item 1 above and below herein) in the future if/when a robust market for nutrient reductions develops in Pennsylvania, of which there is no assurance. PA1 and Bion will continue to evaluate various options with regard to Kreider 1 over the next 6-12 months.

 

The economics (potential revenues, profitability and continued operation) of the Kreider 1 System were based almost entirely on the long-term sale of nutrient (nitrogen and/or phosphorus) reduction credits to meet the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay environmental clean-up. See below for further discussion.

During August 2012, the Company provided Pennvest (and the PADEP) with data demonstrating that the Kreider 1 System met the ‘technology guaranty’ standards which were incorporated in the Pennvest financing documents and, as a result, the Pennvest Loan has been (and is now) solely an obligation of PA1 since that date. However, the Company’s consolidated balance sheet as of June 30, 2020 reflects the Pennvest Loan as a liability of $9,585,883 despite the fact that the obligation (if any) solely an obligation of PA 1.

PA1 is currently maintaining some equipment at the Kreider 1 System pending its potential inclusion within the Kreider 2 Project discussed below.

 

3G TECH KREIDER 2 POULTRY PROJECT

 

Bion continues its pre-development work related to a waste treatment/renewable energy production facility to treat the waste from KF’s approximately 6+ million chickens (planned to expand to approximately 9-10 million) (and potentially other poultry operations and/or other waste streams) ('Kreider Renewable Energy Facility' or ‘ Kreider 2 Project’). On May 5, 2016, the Company executed a stand-alone joint venture agreement with Kreider Farms covering all matters related to development and operation of Kreider 2 system to treat the waste streams from Kreider’s poultry facilities in Bion PA2 LLC (“PA2”). During May 2011 the PADEP certified a smaller version of the Kreider 2 Project (utilizing our 3G Tech) for 559,457 nutrient credits under the old EPA’s Chesapeake Bay model. The Company has been in ongoing discussions with the PADEP regarding the appropriate credit calculation methodology for large-scale technology-based nutrient reduction installations such as the KF2 Project utilizing our 3G Tech platform. Based on these discussions and the size of the Kreider 2 Project, we anticipate that when designs are finalized, the Kreider 2 Project will be re-certified for a far larger number of credits (management’s current estimates are between 2-4 million (or more) nutrient reduction credits for treatment of the waste stream from Kreider’s poultry pursuant to the Company’s subsequent amended application during the current fiscal year pursuant to the amended EPA Chesapeake Bay model and agreements between the EPA and PA. Note that this Project may be expanded in the future to treat wastes from other local and regional CAFOs (poultry and/or dairy---including the Kreider Dairy) and/or additional Kreider poultry expansion (some of which may not qualify for nutrient reduction credits). A review process to clarify certain issues related to credit calculation and verification commenced during 2014 based on Bion’s 2G Tech but has been placed on hold while certain matters are resolved between the EPA and Pennsylvania and pending development of a robust market for nutrient reductions in Pennsylvania. The Company anticipates it will submit an amended or new application based on our 3G Technology. Site specific design and engineering work for this facility, which will probably be one of the first full-scale commercial projects to utilize Bion’s 3G Tech, have not commenced, and the Company does not yet have financing in place for the Kreider 2 Project. This opportunity is being pursued through PA2. If there are positive developments related to the market for nutrient reductions in Pennsylvania, of which there is no assurance, the Company intends to pursue development, design and construction of the Kreider 2 Project with a goal of achieving operational status for its initial modules during the coming calendar year, and hopes to enter into agreements related to sales of the nutrient reduction credits for future delivery (under long term contracts) in the future. The economics (potential revenues and profitability) of the Kreider 2 Project, despite its use of Bion’s 3G Tech for increased recovery of marketable by-products, are based in material part the long-term sale of nutrient (nitrogen and/or phosphorus) reduction credits to meet the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay environmental clean-up. However, liquidity in the Pennsylvania nutrient credit market has not yet developed significant breadth and depth, which lack of liquidity has negatively impacted Bion’s business plans and will most likely delay PA2’s Kreider 2 Project and other proposed projects in Pennsylvania.

 

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Note that while Bion believes that the Kreider 2 Project and/or subsequent Bion Projects in PA and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed will eventually generate revenue from the sale of: a) nutrient reductions (credits or in other form), b) renewable energy (and related credits), c) sales of fertilizer products, and/or d) potentially, in time, credits for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, plus e) license fees related to a ‘sustainable brand’, the Covid-19 pandemic has delayed legislative efforts needed to commence its development. We believe that the potential market is very large, but it is not possible to predict the exact timing and/or magnitude of these potential markets at this time.

 

MIDWEST SUSTAINABLE/ORGANIC GRAIN-FINISHED BEEF JV OPPORTUNITY

 

Bion believes there is a potentially large opportunity to develop JVs to produce sustainable/organic grain-finished beef in the Midwest and is actively involved in early pre-development work and discussions regarding pursuit of this opportunity.

We are moving forward with preliminary pre-development work on a JV to build a state of the art beef cattle operation in the Midwest U.S. The project would produce corn-fed USDA-certified organic- and/or sustainable-branded beef. Organic beef would be finished on organic corn (vs grass fed), produced using the ammonium bicarbonate fertilizer captured from the cattle’s waste. We believe Bion’s unique ability to produce fertilizer for growing of a supply of low-cost organic corn, and the resulting opportunity to produce organic beef, will dramatically differentiate us from potential competitors. This organic opportunity is dependent on successfully establishing Bion’s fertilizer products as acceptable for use in organic grain production. We intend to develop JVs with organic farmers which use Bion’s organic ammonium bicarbonate fertilizers to support organic grain production. This grain can be fed (in the finishing stage) to livestock to raise organic beef (and beef products) that will meet consumer demand with respect to sustainability and safety and provide the tenderness and taste American consumers have come to expect from premium American beef. Such a product is largely unavailable in the market today (See discussion at Item 1 above).

PUBLIC POLICY INITIATIVES

 

A substantial portion of our activities involve public policy initiatives (by the Company and other stakeholders) to encourage the establishment of appropriate public policies and regulations (at federal, regional, state and local levels) to facilitate cost effective environmental clean-up and, thereby, support our business activities. Bion has been joined by National Milk Producers Federation, Land O’Lakes, JBS and other national livestock interests to support changes to our nation’s clean water strategy that will allow states to acquire low-cost nutrient reductions through a competitive procurement process, in a similar manner to how government entities now acquire many other goods and services on behalf of the taxpayer. As developing markets for nutrient reductions become fully-established, Bion anticipates a robust business opportunity to retrofit existing CAFOs and develop Projects, based primarily on the sale of nutrient credits that provide cost-effective alternatives to today’s high-cost and failing clean water strategy.

 

To date the market for long-term nutrient reduction credits in Pennsylvania (‘PA’) has been very slow to develop and the Company’s activities have been negatively affected by such lack of development. However, Bion is confident that once these markets are established, the credits it produces will be competitive in the credit trading markets, based on its cost to remove nitrogen from the livestock waste stream, compared to the cost to remove nitrogen through various other treatment activities.

 

Several independent studies have calculated the average cost to remove nitrogen through various sector practices. Reports prepared for the PA Senate (2008), Chesapeake Bay Commission (2012) and PA legislature (2013; described below), as well as the Maryland Chesapeake Bay Financing Strategy Report (2015), demonstrate that the cost to remove nitrogen (per pound on average) from agriculture is $44 to $54, municipal wastewater: $28 to $43, and storm water: $386 to $633. Pursuant to the PA legislative Report, by replacing sector allocation (for all sectors) with competitive bidding, up to 80 percent savings could be achieved in PA’s Chesapeake Bay compliance costs ($1.5 billion annually) by 2025. If the legislative study had focused on the cost differentials of competitive bidding compared only with storm water, the relative savings would be substantially greater.

 

Since these studies were completed, most of the larger (Tier 1) municipal wastewater treatment plants in PA have been upgraded, at a cost of approximately $2.5 billion (vs initial 2004 PA DEP cost estimates of $376 million). US EPA is now focused on PA’s storm water allocation (3.5 million pounds (per last published data)) and has this sector on ‘backstop level actions’, the highest level of EPA-oversight and the final step before sanctions. In the same 2004 PA DEP cost estimate that led to the more than a $2 billion underestimate/miscalculation in municipal wastewater plant upgrade costs, the estimate for storm water cost was $5.6 billion. In April 2017, US EPA sent a Letter of Expectation to PA DEP, expressing the agency’s support for the use of nutrient credit trading and competitive bidding to engage the private-sector to lower costs. The letter specifically encouraged the use of credit trading to offset the state’s looming storm water obligations.

 

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The Company believes that: i) the April 2015 release of a report from the Pennsylvania Auditor General titled “Special Report on the Importance of Meeting Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Reduction Targets” which highlighted the economic consequences of EPA-imposed sanctions if the state fails to meet the 2017 TMDL targets, as well as the need to support using low-cost solutions and technologies as alternatives to higher-cost public infrastructure projects, where possible, and ii) Senate Bill 575 (introduced in April 2019 as successor to prior SB 799 (which was passed by PA Senate during January 2018 but was not voted on in the House)) which, if adopted, will establish a program that will allow the Pennsylvania’s tax- and rate-payers to meet significant portions of their EPA-mandated Chesapeake Bay pollution reductions at significantly lower cost by purchasing verified reductions (by competitive bidding) from all sources, including those that Bion can produce through livestock waste treatment, represent visible evidence of progress being made on these matters in Pennsylvania. SB 575 was passed by the PA Senate in 2019 and introduced in the PA House which is scheduled to be taken up the bill during its current session which is now underway. Such legislation (which has bi-partisan support), if passed and signed into law (of which there is no assurance), will potentially enable Bion (and others) to compete for public funding on an equal basis with subsidized agricultural ‘best management practices’ and public works and storm water authorities. Note, however, that there is opposition to SB 575 (as was the case for SB 799 and its predecessors) from threatened stakeholders committed to the existing status quo approaches--- a significant portion of which was focused on attacking (in often inaccurate and/or vilifying ways) Bion in/through social media and internet articles, blogs, press releases, twitter posts and re-tweets, rather than engaging the substantive issues. Further note that the current COVID-19 crisis has shifted government, legislative and budget focuses in PA in manners which may delay our efforts. If legislation similar to SB 575 is passed (on a stand-alone basis or as part of a larger piece of legislation) and implemented (in a form which maintains its core provisions), Bion expects that the policies and strategies being developed in PA will not only benefit the Company’s existing and proposed PA projects, but will also subsequently provide the basis for a larger Chesapeake Bay watershed strategy and, thereafter, a national clean water strategy.

 

THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS FURTHER INCREASED UNCERTAINTIES RE SB 575 AND ALL POLICY INITIATIVES. SEE FURTHER DISCUSSION IN ITEM 1 ABOVE.

 

The Company believes that Pennsylvania is ‘ground zero’ in the long-standing clean water battle between agriculture and the further regulation of agriculture relative to nutrient impacts. The ability of Bion and other technology providers to achieve verified reductions from agricultural non-point sources can resolve the current stalemate and enable implementation of constructive solutions that benefit all stakeholders, providing a mechanism that ensures that taxpayer funds will be used to achieve the most beneficial result at the lowest cost, regardless of source. All sources, point and non-point, rural and urban, will be able to compete for tax payer-funded nitrogen reductions in a fair and transparent process; and since payment from the tax and rate payers would now be performance-based, these providers will be held financially accountable.

 

We believe that the overwhelming environmental, economic, quality of life and public health benefits to all stakeholders in the watershed, both within and outside of Pennsylvania, make the case for adoption of the strategies outlined in the Report less an issue of ‘if’, but of ‘when and how’. The adoption of a competitive procurement program will have significant positive impact on technology providers that can deliver verified nitrogen reductions such as Bion, by allocating existing tax- and rate-payer clean water funding to low cost solutions based upon a voluntary and transparent procurement process. The Company believes that implementation of a competitively-bid nutrient reduction program to achieve the goals for the Chesapeake Bay watershed can also provide a working policy model and platform for other states to adopt that will enhance their efforts to comply with both current and future requirements for local and federal estuarine watersheds, including the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico, the Great Lakes Basin and other nutrient-impaired watersheds. (Note, however, that current COVID-19 crisis has shifted government, legislative and budget focuses in manners which may delay the fruition of our efforts.)

 

The Company currently anticipates that either a Midwest Sustainable/Organic Grain-Fed Beef JV or the Kreider 2 poultry JV in PA will be its initial full-scale 3G Project. Bion hopes to commence development of its initial s by optioning land and beginning the site-specific design and permitting processes during the current fiscal year, but further delays are possible. It is not possible at this time to firmly predict where the initial Project will be developed or the order in which Projects will be developed. All potential Projects are in very early discussion and pre-development stages and may never progress to actual development or may be developed after other Projects not yet under active consideration.

 

 

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Bion also hopes to be able to move forward on multiple JVs/Projects through 2021-2024 to create a pipeline of Projects. Management has a 5-year development target (through calendar year 2026) of approximately 3-8 or more JVs/Projects pursuant to joint ventures (or similar agreements). Management hopes to have identified and begun development work related to 3-5 Projects over the next 2 years. At the end of the 5-year period, Bion projects that 3-5 or more of these JVs/Projects will be in full operation in 3 or more states (and possibly one or more foreign countries), and the balance would be in various stages ranging from partial operation to early development stage. It is possible that one or more Projects will be developed in joint ventures specifically targeted to meet the growing animal protein demand outside of the United States (including without limitation Asia, Europe and/or the Middle East). No JVs/Projects (including Integrated Projects) have been developed to date.

The Company’s audited financial statements for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019 were prepared assuming the Company will continue as a going concern. The Company has incurred net losses of approximately $4,553,000 and $2,659,000 during the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively. The Report of the Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm on the Company’s consolidated financial statements as of and for the year ended June 30, 2020 includes a “going concern” explanatory paragraph which means that there are factors that raise substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern. At June 30, 2020, the Company had a working capital deficit and a stockholders’ deficit of approximately $10,474,000 and $15,130,000, respectively. Management’s plans with respect to these matters are described in this section and in our consolidated financial statements (and notes thereto), and this material does not include any adjustments that might result from the outcome of this uncertainty. However, there is no guarantee that we will be able to raise sufficient funds or further capital for the operations planned in the near future.

 

COVID-19 PANDEMIC RELATED MATTERS:

 

The Company faces risks and uncertainties and factors beyond our control that are magnified during the current Covid-19 pandemic and the unique economic, financial, governmental and health-related conditions in which the Company, the country and the entire world now reside. To date the Company has experienced direct impacts in various areas including but without limitation: i) government ordered shutdowns which have slowed the Company’s research and development projects and other initiatives, ii) shifted focus of state and federal governments which is likely to negatively impact the Company’s legislative initiatives in Pennsylvania and Washington D. C., iii) strains and uncertainties in both the equity and debt markets which have made discussion and planning of funding of the Company and its initiatives and projects with investment bankers, banks and potential strategic partners more tenuous, iv) strains and uncertainties in the agricultural sector and markets have made discussion and planning more difficult as future industry conditions are now more difficult to assess and predict, v) due to the age and health of our core management team, all of whom are age 70 or older and have had one or more existing health issues, the Covid-19 pandemic places the Company at greater risk than was previously the case (to a higher degree than would be the case if the Company had a larger, deeper and/or younger core management team), and vi) there almost certainly will be other unanticipated consequences for the Company as a result of the current pandemic emergency and its aftermath.

 

 

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CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES

 

Revenue Recognition

The Company currently does not generate revenue and if and when the Company begins to generate revenue the Company will comply with the provisions of Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 606 “Revenue from Contracts with Customers”.

Stock-based compensation

 

The Company follows the provisions of ASC 718, which generally requires that share-based compensation transactions be accounted and recognized in the statement of income based upon their grant date fair values.

 

Derivative Financial Instruments:

 

Pursuant to ASC Topic 815 “Derivatives and Hedging” (“Topic 815”), the Company reviews all financial instruments for the existence of features which may require fair value accounting and a related mark-to-market adjustment at each reporting period end. Once determined, the Company assesses these instruments as derivative liabilities. The fair value of these instruments is adjusted to reflect the fair value at each reporting period end, with any increase or decrease in the fair value being recorded in results of operations as an adjustment to fair value of derivatives.

 

Warrants:

 

The Company has issued warrants to purchase common shares of the Company. Warrants are valued using a fair value based method, whereby the fair value of the warrant is determined at the warrant issue date using a market-based option valuation model based on factors including an evaluation of the Company’s value as of the date of the issuance, consideration of the Company’s limited liquid resources and business prospects, the market price of the Company’s stock in its mostly inactive public market and the historical valuations and purchases of the Company’s warrants. When warrants are issued in combination with debt or equity securities, the warrants are valued and accounted for based on the relative fair value of the warrants in relation to the total value assigned to the debt or equity securities and warrants combined.

 

Recent Accounting Pronouncements:

 

In June 2018, the FASB issued ASU No. 2018-07 “Compensation – Stock Compensation – Improvements to Nonemployee Share-Based Payment Accounting” to simplify the accounting for share based payments granted to nonemployees and was adopted by the Company effective July 1, 2019. Under this guidance, payments to nonemployees is aligned with the requirements for share-based payments granted to employees. The adoption of this guidance did not have a material impact on the Company’s financial statements as previously issued share-based payments to nonemployees had already reached a measurement date.

 

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YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 2020 COMPARED TO THE YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 2019

Revenue

Total revenues were nil for both the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

General and Administrative

Total general and administrative expenses were $3,090,000 and $1,725,000 for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

General and administrative expenses, excluding stock-based compensation charges of $1,931,000 and $536,000, were $1,159,000 and $1,189,000 for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively, representing a $30,000 decrease. Salaries and related payroll tax expenses were $266,000 and $254,000 for the year ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Consulting costs were $458,000 and $446,000 for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively, as there were no significant changes in the Company’s use of consultants. Insurance related expenses were $93,000 and $86,000 for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, representing a $7,000 increase due to renewal of insurance coverage and higher premium costs. Investor relations related expenses were $72,000 and $145,000 for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively, a $73,000 decrease due to the fact the pandemic curtailed investor conferences and related travel during the latter part of the year ended June 30, 2020. Accounting and tax related costs were $105,000 and $87,000 for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively, with the increase being attributed to tax preparation fees.

General and administrative stock-based employee compensation for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019 consists of the following:

 

   Year
ended
June 30,
2020
  Year
ended
June 30,
2019
General and administrative:          
  Change in fair value from modification of option terms  $511,000   $211,000 
  Change in fair value from modification of warrant terms   1,065,000    118,000 
  Fair value of stock options expensed under ASC 718   355,000    207,000 
      Total  $1,931,000   $536,000 

 

Stock-based compensation charges were $1,931,000 and $536,000 for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Compensation expense relating to the change in fair value from the modification of option terms was $511,000 and $211,000 for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively, as the Company granted a reduction in certain exercise prices and an extension of certain option expiration dates for 7,121,600 and 1,025,000 options during the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively. During the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, the Company extended expiration dates of warrants for certain employees and consultants which resulted in the recognition of $1,065,000 and $118,000, respectively, in non-cash compensation. The fair value of stock options expensed for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019 was $355,000 and $207,000, respectively. The Company granted 2,210,000 and 655,000 fully vested options during the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

Depreciation

Total depreciation expense was $1,248 and $1,314 for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

Research and Development

Total research and development expenses were $1,124,000 and $520,000 for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

Research and development expenses, excluding stock-based compensation expenses of $646,000 and $85,000 were $478,000 and $435,000 for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Salaries and related payroll tax expenses were $80,000 for both the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Consulting costs were $218,000 and $230,000 for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively, while expenses related to the development of a new pilot program for its anaerobic digestate process were $112,000 and $51,000, respectively for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively. 

 

41 
 
 

 

Research and development stock-based employee compensation for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019 consists of the following:

 

   Year ended
June 30, 2020
  Year ended
June 30, 2019
Research and development:          
  Change in fair value from modification of option terms  $115,000   $11,000 
  Change in fair value from modification of warrant terms   457,000    45,000 
  Fair value of stock options expensed under ASC 718   74,000    29,000 
      Total  $646,000   $85,000 

 

Stock-based compensation expenses were $646,000 and $85,000 and for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively. The compensation expense of $115,000 and $11,000 for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively was for the change in fair value from modification of options terms is due to a research and development employee and consultant having certain option exercise prices reduced during those periods. During the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, the Company extended expiration dates of warrants for certain research and development employees and consultants which resulted in the recognition of $457,000 and $45,000, respectively, in non-cash compensation. The Company expensed $74,000 and $29,000 for the fair value of stock options that vested during the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019. The Company granted 2,210,000 and 655,000 options during the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively, that were fully vested within that time period and a portion of the stock compensation was allocated to research and development.

Loss from Operations

As a result of the factors described above, the loss from operations was $4,215,000 and $2,246,000 for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

Other (Income) Expense

Other (income) expense was $338,000 and $413,000 for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Interest expense related the Pennvest Loan was $247,000 and $239,000 for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively, while interest expense related to deferred compensation and convertible notes was $182,000 and $147,000 for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively, with the increase being attributable to overall higher deferred compensation and note balances. Additionally, interest expense of $36,000 and $25,000 was recorded during the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively, due to the modification of warrant expiry dates for warrants held by investors. During the year ended June 30, 2020, the Company recognized other income of $122,000 due to the extinguishment of liabilities due to the legal release of certain accounts payable and $6,000 due to the grant of an Economic Impact Disaster Loan.

Net Loss Attributable to the Noncontrolling Interest

The net loss attributable to the noncontrolling interest was $8,000 and $5,000 for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

Net Loss Attributable to Bion’s Common Stockholders

As a result of the factors described above, the net loss attributable to Bion’s stockholders was $4,546,000 and $2,654,000 for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively, and the net loss per basic common share was $0.16 and $0.10 for the years ended June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

 

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LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES

 

The Company's consolidated financial statements for the year ended June 30, 2020 have been prepared on a going concern basis, which contemplates the realization of assets and the settlement of liabilities and commitments in the normal course of business. The Report of our Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm on the Company's consolidated financial statements as of and for the year ended June 30, 2020 includes a "going concern" explanatory paragraph which means that the auditors stated that conditions exist that raise substantial doubt about the Company's ability to continue as a going concern.

 

Operating Activities

 

As of June 30, 2020, the Company had cash of approximately $561,000. During the year ended June 30, 2020, net cash used in operating activities was $966,000, primarily consisting of cash operating expenses related to salaries and benefits, and other general and administrative costs such as insurance, legal, accounting, consulting and investor relations expenses. As previously noted, the Company is currently not generating significant revenue and accordingly has not generated cash flows from operations. The Company does not anticipate generating sufficient revenues to offset operating and capital costs for a minimum of two to five years. While there are no assurances that the Company will be successful in its efforts to develop and construct its Projects and market its Systems, it is certain that the Company will require substantial funding from external sources. Given the unsettled state of the current credit and capital markets for companies such as Bion, there is no assurance the Company will be able to raise the funds it needs on reasonable terms.

 

Financing Activities

 

During the years ended June 30, 2020, the Company received gross cash proceeds of $1,584,000 from the sale of 3,168,001 units which consists of one share of the Company’s restricted common stock and one warrant to purchase one share of the Company’s restricted common stock for $0.75 per share through December 2020 and December 2021. The Company paid cash commissions related to the sale of units of $148,000. The Company received proceeds from loans from affiliates of $35,000 during the year ended June 30, 2020 and used $20,000 to repay such loans during the same period. The Company also received a Paycheck Protection Program loan in the amount of $35,000 during the year ended June 30, 2020.

 

As of June 30, 2020, the Company has debt obligations consisting of: a) deferred compensation of $778,000, b) convertible notes payable – affiliates of $4,596,000, c) a loan payable and accrued interest of $9,586,000 (owed by PA1), and d) a Paycheck Protection Program loan of $35,000.

 

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Plan of Operations and Outlook

 

As of June 30, 2020, the Company had cash of approximately $561,000.

 

The Company continues to explore sources of additional financing to satisfy its current operating requirements as it is not currently generating any significant revenues. During the past six years (fiscal years 2014 through 2019), the Company experienced greater difficulty in raising equity and debt funding than in the prior years (which is not mitigated by the relative increase in equity funding during the year ended June 30, 2020). As a result, the Company faced, and continues to face, significant cash flow management challenges due to material working capital constraints. These difficulties, challenges and constraints have continued during fiscal years 2019 and 2020. The Company anticipates that they may continue for the next twelve (12) months or longer. To partially mitigate these working capital constraints, the Company's core senior management and some key employees and consultants have been deferring all or part of their cash compensation and/or are accepting compensation in the form of securities of the Company (Notes 5 and 7 to Financial Statements) and members of the Company's senior management have made loans to the Company which have been converted into convertible promissory notes as of June 30, 2020. During the year ended June 30, 2018 senior management and certain core employees and consultants agreed to a one-time extinguishment of liabilities owed by the Company which in aggregate totaled $2,404,000. As of June 30, 2020, such deferrals totaled approximately $5,374,000 (including accrued interest and deferred compensation converted into promissory notes but excluding conversions of deferred compensation into the Company's common stock by officers, employees and consultants that have already been completed). The extended constraints on available resources have had, and continue to have, negative effects on the pace and scope of the Company's effort to develop its business. The Company made reductions in its personnel during the years ended June 30, 2014 and 2015 and again in 2018. The Company has had to delay payments of trade obligations and economize in many ways that have potentially negative consequences. If the Company does not have greater success in its efforts to raise needed funds during the current year (and subsequent periods), we will need to consider deeper cuts (including additional personnel cuts) and curtailments of operations (including possibly Kreider 1 operations). The Company will need to obtain additional capital to fund its operations and technology development, to satisfy existing creditors, to develop Projects (including Integrated Projects) and CAFO Retrofit waste remediation systems (including the Kreider 2 facility) and to continue to operate the Kreider 1 facility (subject to agreements being reached with Pennvest as discussed above). The Company anticipates that it will seek to raise from $2,500,000 to $50,000,000 or more (debt and equity) during the next twelve months. However, as discussed above, there is no guarantee that we will be able to raise sufficient funds or further capital for the operations planned in the near future.

 

The Company is not currently generating any significant revenues. Further, the Company’s anticipated revenues, if any, from existing projects and proposed projects will not be sufficient to meet the Company’s anticipated operational and capital expenditure needs for many years. During the year ended June 30, 2020 the Company raised gross proceeds of approximately $1,584,000 through the sale of its securities and paid commissions of approximately $148,000, and anticipates raising additional funds from such sales and transactions. However, there is no guarantee that we will be able to raise sufficient funds or further capital for the operations planned in the near future.

 

Because the Company is not currently generating significant revenues, the Company will need to obtain additional capital to fund its operations and technology development, to satisfy existing creditors, to develop Projects and to sustain operations at the KF 1 facility.

 

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The first commercial activity in the Retrofit segment is represented by our agreement with Kreider Farms ("KF"), pursuant to which the Kreider 1 system to treat KF's dairy waste streams to reduce nutrient releases to the environment while generating marketable nutrient credits and renewable energy was designed, constructed and entered full-scale operation during 2011. On January 26, 2009 the Board of the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority ("Pennvest") approved a $7.75 million loan to Bion PA 1, LLC ("PA1"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, for the initial Kreider Farms project ("Kreider 1 System"). After substantial unanticipated delays, on August 12, 2010 PA1 received a permit for construction of the Kreider 1 system. Construction activities commenced during November 2010. The closing/settlement of the Pennvest Loan took place on November 3, 2010. PA1 finished the construction of the Kreider 1 System and entered a period of system 'operational shakedown' during May 2011. The Kreider 1 System reached full, stabilized operation by the end of the 2012 fiscal year. During 2011 the PADEP re-certified the nutrient credits for this project. The PADEP issued final permits for the Kreider 1 System (including the credit verification plan) on August 1, 2012 on which date the Company deemed that the Kreider System was 'placed in service'. As a result, PA1 commenced generating nutrient reduction credits for potential sale while continuing to utilize the Kreider 1 system to test improvements and add-ons. However, to date liquidity in the Pennsylvania nutrient credit market has been slow to develop significant breadth and depth, which limited liquidity/depth has negatively impacted Bion's business plans and has resulted in challenges to monetizing the nutrient reductions created by PA1's existing Kreider 1 project and Bion's other proposed projects. These difficulties have prevented PA1 from generating any material revenues from the Kreider 1 project to date and raise significant questions as to when, if ever, PA1 will be able to generate such revenues from the Kreider 1 system. PA1 has had sporadic discussions/negotiations with Pennvest related to forbearance and/or re-structuring its obligations pursuant to the Pennvest Loan for more than three years. In the context of such discussions/negotiations, PA1 elected not to make interest payments to Pennvest on the Pennvest Loan since January 2013. Additionally, the Company has not made any principal payments, which were to begin in fiscal 2013, and, therefore, the Company has classified the Pennvest Loan as a current liability as of June 30, 2020. Due to the failure of the PA nutrient reduction credit market to develop, the Company determined that the carrying amount of the property and equipment related to the Kreider 1 project exceeded its estimated future undiscounted cash flows based on certain assumptions regarding timing, level and probability of revenues from sales of nutrient reduction credits and, therefore, PA1 and the Company recorded impairments related to the value of the Kreider 1 assets of $1,750,000 and $2,000,000 at June 30, 2015 and June 30, 2014, respectively. During the 2016 fiscal year, PA1 and the Company recorded an impairment of $1,684,562 to the value of the Kreider 1 assets which reduced the value on the Company's books to zero. This impairment reflects management's judgment that the salvage value of the Kreider 1 assets roughly equals PA1's contractual obligations related to the Kreider 1 system, including expenses related to decommissioning of the Kreider 1 system, costs associated with needed capital upgrade expenses, and re-certification/ permitting amendments.

 

On September 25, 2014, Pennvest exercised its right to declare the Pennvest Loan in default and accelerated the Pennvest Loan and demanded that PA1 pay $8,137,117 (principal, interest plus late charges) on or before October 24, 2014. PA1 did not make the payment and does not have the resources to make the payments demanded by Pennvest. PA1 commenced discussions and negotiations with Pennvest concerning this matter but Pennvest rejected PA1's proposal made during the fall of 2014. As of the date of this report, no formal proposals are currently under consideration and only sporadic communication has taken place regarding the matters involved over the last 5 years. It is not possible at this date to predict the outcome of this matter, but the Company believes that a loan modification agreement (coupled with an agreement regarding an update and restart of full operations of KF1) may be reached in the future if/when a more robust market for nutrient reductions develops in PA, of which there is no assurance. PA1 and Bion will continue to evaluate various options with regard to Kreider 1 over the next 180 days.

 

 

45 
 
 

 

The economics (potential revenues, profitability and continued operation) of the Kreider 1 System are based almost entirely on the long-term sale of nutrient (nitrogen and/or phosphorus) reduction credits to meet the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay environmental clean-up. See below for further discussion.

 

During August 2012, the Company provided Pennvest (and the PADEP) with data demonstrating that the Kreider 1 system met the 'technology guaranty' standards which were incorporated in the Pennvest financing documents and, as a result, the Pennvest Loan is now solely an obligation of PA1.

 

The Company is currently operating the Kreider 1 System in a limited manner pending development of a more robust market for its nutrient reductions and/or its potential inclusion within the Kreider 2 Project discussed above.

 

As indicated above, the Company anticipates that it will seek to raise from $2,500,000 to $50,000,000 or more (from debt, equity, joint venture, strategic partnering, etc.) during the next twelve months, some of which may be in the context of joint ventures for the development of one or more large scale projects. We reiterate that there is no assurance, especially in the extremely unsettled capital markets that presently exist for companies such as Bion, that the Company will be able to obtain the funds that it needs to stay in business, finance its Projects and other activities, continue its technology development and/or to successfully develop its business.

 

There is extremely limited likelihood that funds required during the next twelve months or in the periods immediately thereafter will be generated from operations and there is no assurance that those funds will be available from external sources such as debt or equity financings or other potential sources. The lack of additional capital resulting from the inability to generate cash flow from operations and/or to raise capital from external sources would force the Company to substantially curtail or cease operations and would, therefore, have a material adverse effect on its business. Further, there can be no assurance that any such required funds, if available, will be available on attractive terms or that they will not have a significantly dilutive effect on the Company's existing shareholders. All of these factors have been exacerbated by the extremely limited and unsettled credit and capital markets presently existing for companies such as Bion.

Currently, Bion is focused on using applications of its patented and proprietary waste management technologies and technology platform to pursue three main business opportunities: 1) installation of Bion systems ( some of which may generate verified nutrient reduction credits and revenues from the production of renewable energy and byproducts) to retrofit and environmentally remediate existing CAFOs ("Retrofits") in selected markets where: a) government policy supports such efforts (such as the Chesapeake Bay watershed, Great Lakes Basin states, and/or other states and watersheds facing EPA 'total maximum daily load' ("TMDL") issues, and/or b) where CAFO's need our technology to obtain permits to expand or develop without negative environmental consequences; 2) development of new state-of-the-art large scale waste treatment facilities in joint ventures with large CAFO’s in strategic locations ("Projects") ( some of these may be Integrated Projects as described below) with multiple revenue streams, and 3) licensing and/or joint venturing of Bion's technology and applications (primarily) outside North America commencing during the 2020 calendar year. The opportunities described at 1) and 2) above each require substantial political and regulatory (federal, state and local) efforts on the part of the Company and a substantial part of Bion's efforts are focused on such political and regulatory matters. Bion is currently pursuing the international opportunities primarily through the use of consultants with existing relationships in target countries. The most intense focus is currently on the requirements for the clean-up of the Chesapeake Bay faced by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the potential use of Bion’s technology and technology platform on CAFOs to remediate ammonia release (and re-deposition to the ground and water) and as an alternative to what the Company believes is far more expensive nutrient removal downstream in storm water and other projects.

 

46 
 
 

 

Additionally, the Kreider agreements provide for Bion to develop a waste treatment/renewable energy production facility to treat the waste from Kreider's approximately 6+ million chickens (planned to expand to approximately 9-10 million)(and potentially other poultry operations and/or other waste streams)('Kreider Renewable Energy Facility' or ' Kreider 2 Project'). On May 5, 2016, the Company executed a stand-alone joint venture agreement with Kreider Farms covering all matters related to development and operation of a system to treat the waste streams from Kreider's poultry facilities in Bion PA2 LLC ("PA2"). The Company continues its development work related to the details of the Kreider 2 Project. During May 2011 the PADEP certified Kreider 2 Project for 559,457 nutrient credits under the old EPA's Chesapeake Bay model. The Company anticipates that the Kreider 2 Project will be re-certified for between 1.5-2 million (or more) nutrient reduction credits (for treatment of the waste stream from Kreider's poultry) pursuant to the Company's pending reapplication (or subsequent amended application) during 2018 pursuant to the amended EPA Chesapeake Bay model and agreements between the EPA and PA. Note that this Project may be expanded in the future to treat wastes from other local and regional CAFOs (poultry and/or dairy – including the Kreider Dairy) and/or Kreider poultry expansion (some of which may not qualify for nutrient reduction credits). The review process to clarify certain issues related to credit calculation and verification commenced during 2014 based on Bion’s 2G Tech but has been largely placed on hold while certain matters are resolved between the EPA and PA and pending development of a robust market for nutrient reductions in PA. The Company anticipates it will submit an amended application based on our 3G Technology once these matters are clear. Site specific design and engineering work for this facility, which will probably be the first full-scale project to utilize Bion's 3G Tech, have not commenced, and the Company does not yet have financing in place for the Kreider 2 Project. This opportunity is being pursued through PA2. If there are positive developments related to the market for nutrient reductions in PA, of which there is no assurance, the Company intends to pursue development, design and construction of the Kreider 2 Project with a goal of achieving operational status of its initial modules during the 2020 calendar year, and hopes to enter into agreements related to sales of the nutrient reduction credits for future delivery (under long term contracts) during the 2020 fiscal year subject to verification by the PADEP based on operating data from the Kreider 2 Project. The economics (potential revenues and profitability) of the Kreider 2 Project, despite its use of Bion's 3G Tech for increased recovery of marketable by-products, are based in material part the long-term sale of nutrient (nitrogen and/or phosphorus) reduction credits to meet the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay environmental clean-up. However, liquidity in the PA nutrient credit market has been slow to develop significant breadth and depth, which lack of liquidity has negatively impacted Bion's business plans and has resulted in challenges to monetizing the nutrient reduction credits generated by PA1's existing Kreider 1 project and will most likely delay PA2's Kreider 2 Project and other proposed projects in PA.

 

Note that while Bion believes that the Kreider 1 System (when re-started), the Kreider 2 Project and/or subsequent Bion Projects will eventually generate revenue from the sale of: a) nutrient reductions (credits or in other form), b) renewable energy (and related credits), c) sales of fertilizer products, and/or d) potentially, in time, credits for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, plus e) license fees related to a ‘sustainable brand’. We believe that the potential market is very large, but it is not possible to predict the exact timing and/or magnitude of these potential markets at this time.

 

The Company anticipates that the Kreider 2 poultry waste treatment facility in PA will be its initial Project. Bion anticipates that it will select a site for the Kreider 2 Project and/or its initial Integrated Project (and possibly additional Projects) during the current fiscal year if SB575 becomes law in PA. Bion hopes to commence development of its initial Project by optioning land and beginning the site specific design and permitting process during the current year, but delays are possible. It is not possible at this time to firmly predict where the initial Project will be developed or the order in which Projects will be developed. All potential Projects are in very early pre-development stages and may never progress to actual development or may be developed after other Projects not yet under active consideration.

 

Bion also hopes to be able to move forward on additional Projects through 2021-24 to create a pipeline of Projects. Management has a 5-year development target (through calendar year 2026) of approximately 10 or more Projects. Management hopes to have identified and begun development work related to 3-5 Projects over the next 2 years. At the end of the 5-year period, Bion projects that 3-8 of these Projects will be in full operation in 3-6 states (and possibly one or more foreign countries), and the balance would be in various stages ranging from partial operation to early development stage. It is possible that one or more Projects will be developed in joint ventures specifically targeted to meet the growing animal protein demand outside of the United States (including without limitation Asia, Europe and/or the Middle East). No Projects (including Integrated Projects) has been developed to date.

 

 

47 
 
 

 

Covid-19 pandemic related matters:

 

The Company faces risks and uncertainties and factors beyond our control that are magnified during the current Covid-19 pandemic and the unique economic, financial, governmental and health-related conditions in which the Company, the country and the entire world now reside. To date the Company has experienced direct impacts in various areas including but without limitation: i) government ordered shutdowns which have slowed the Company’s research and development projects and other initiatives, ii) shifted focus of state and federal governments which is likely to negatively impact the Company’s legislative initiatives in Pennsylvania and Washington D. C., iii) strains and uncertainties in both the equity and debt markets which have made discussion and planning of funding of the Company and its initiatives and projects with investment bankers, banks and potential strategic partners more tenuous, iv) strains and uncertainties in the agricultural sector and markets have made discussion and planning more difficult as future industry conditions are now more difficult to assess and predict, v) due to the age and health of our core management team, all of whom are age 70 or older and have had one or more existing health issues, the Covid-19 pandemic places the Company at greater risk than was previously the case (to a higher degree than would be the case if the Company had a larger, deeper and/or younger core management team), and vi) there almost certainly will be other unanticipated consequences for the Company as a result of the current pandemic emergency and its aftermath.

 

CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS

 

We have the following material contractual obligations (in addition to employment and consulting agreements with management and employees):

 

During 2008 the Company commenced actively pursuing the opportunity presented by environmental retrofit and remediation of the waste streams of existing CAFOs which effort has met with very limited success to date. The first commercial activity in this area is represented by our agreement with Kreider Farms ("KF"), pursuant to which the Kreider 1 system to treat KF's dairy waste streams to reduce nutrient releases to the environment while generating marketable nutrient credits and renewable energy was designed, constructed and entered full-scale operation during 2011. On January 26, 2009 the Board of the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority ("Pennvest") approved a $7.75 million loan to Bion PA 1, LLC ("PA1"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, for the initial Kreider Farms project ("Kreider 1 System"). After substantial unanticipated delays, on August 12, 2010 PA1 received a permit for construction of the Kreider 1 system. Construction activities commenced during November 2010. The closing/settlement of the Pennvest Loan took place on November 3, 2010. PA1 finished the construction of the Kreider 1 System and entered a period of system 'operational shakedown' during May 2011. The Kreider 1System reached full, stabilized operation by the end of the 2012 fiscal year. During 2011 the PADEP re-certified the nutrient credits for this project. The PADEP issued final permits for the Kreider 1 System (including the credit verification plan) on August 1, 2012 on which date the Company deemed that the Kreider System was 'placed in service'. As a result, PA1 commenced generating nutrient reduction credits for potential sale while continuing to utilize the Kreider 1 system to test improvements and add-ons. However, to date liquidity in the Pennsylvania nutrient credit market has been slow to develop significant breadth and depth, which limited liquidity/depth has negatively impacted Bion's business plans and has resulted in challenges to monetizing the nutrient reductions created by PA1's existing Kreider 1 project and Bion's other proposed projects. These difficulties have prevented PA1 from generating any material revenues from the Kreider 1 project to date and raise significant questions as to when, if ever, PA1 will be able to generate such revenues from the Kreider 1 system. PA1 has had sporadic discussions/negotiations with Pennvest related to forbearance and/or re-structuring its obligations pursuant to the Pennvest Loan for more than three years. In the context of such discussions/negotiations, PA1 elected not to make interest payments to Pennvest on the Pennvest Loan since January 2013. Additionally, the Company has not made any principal payments, which were to begin in fiscal 2013, and, therefore, the Company has classified the Pennvest Loan as a current liability as of June 30, 2020. Due to the failure of the PA nutrient reduction credit market to develop, the Company determined that the carrying amount of the property and equipment related to the Kreider 1 project exceeded its estimated future undiscounted cash flows based on certain assumptions regarding timing, level and probability of revenues from sales of nutrient reduction credits and, therefore, PA1 and the Company recorded impairments related to the value of the Kreider 1 assets of $1,750,000 and $2,000,000 at June 30, 2015 and June 30, 2014, respectively. During the 2016 fiscal year, PA1 and the Company recorded an impairment of $1,684,562 to the value of the Kreider 1 assets which reduced the value on the Company's books to zero. This impairment reflects management's judgment that the salvage value of the Kreider 1 assets roughly equals PA1's contractual obligations related to the Kreider 1 system, including expenses related to decommissioning of the Kreider 1 system, costs associated with needed capital upgrade expenses, and re-certification/ permitting amendments.

 

 

48 
 
 

On September 25, 2014, Pennvest exercised its right to declare the Pennvest Loan in default and accelerated the Pennvest Loan and demanded that PA1 pay $8,137,117 (principal, interest plus late charges) on or before October 24, 2014. PA1 did not make the payment and does not have the resources to make the payments demanded by Pennvest. PA1 commenced discussions and negotiations with Pennvest concerning this matter but Pennvest rejected PA1's proposal made during the fall of 2014. As of the date of this report, no formal proposals are currently under consideration and only sporadic communication has taken place regarding the matters involved over the 5 years. It is not possible at this date to predict the outcome of this matter, but the Company believes that a loan modification agreement (coupled with an agreement regarding an update and restart of full operations of KF1) may be reached in the future if/when a more robust market for nutrient reductions develops in PA, of which there is no assurance. PA1 and Bion will continue to evaluate various options with regard to Kreider 1 over the next 180 days.

 

The economics (potential revenues, profitability and continued operation) of the Kreider 1 System are based almost entirely on the long-term sale of nutrient (nitrogen and/or phosphorus) reduction credits to meet the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay environmental clean-up.

 

During August 2012, the Company provided Pennvest (and the PADEP) with data demonstrating that the Kreider 1 system met the 'technology guaranty' standards which were incorporated in the Pennvest financing documents and, as a result, the Pennvest Loan is now solely an obligation of PA1.

 

The Company is currently operating the Kreider 1 System in a limited manner pending development of a more robust market for its nutrient reductions and/or its potential inclusion within the Kreider 2 Project discussed below.

 

OFF-BALANCE SHEET ARRANGEMENTS

 

We do not have any off-balance sheet arrangements (as that term is defined in Item 303 of Regulation S-K) that are reasonably likely to have a current or future material effect on our financial condition, revenue or expenses, results of operations, liquidity, capital expenditures or capital resources.

 

 

ITEM 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK.

 

N/A

 

ITEM 8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA.

 

The consolidated financial statements are set forth on pages F-1 through F- hereto.

 

ITEM 9. CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE.

 

None.

 

49 
 
 

 

ITEM 9A. CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES.

 

Disclosure Controls and Procedures

 

As of June 30, 2020, under the supervision and with the participation of the Company's President and Principal Financial Officer (the same person), management has evaluated the effectiveness of the design and operations of the Company's disclosure controls and procedures.  Based on that evaluation, the President and Principal Financial Officer concluded that the Company's disclosure controls and procedures were not effective as of June 30, 2020 as a result of the material weakness in internal control over financial reporting discussed below. 

 

Changes in Internal Control over Financial Reporting

 

There were no changes in internal control over financial reporting that occurred during the last fiscal quarter covered by this report that have materially affected, or are reasonably likely to materially affect, the Company's internal control over financial reporting.

 

Management's Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting

 

Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting, as such term is defined in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 Rule 13a-15(f). Our Chief Executive Officer and Principal Financial Officer (the same person) conducted an evaluation of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting based on the framework in Internal Control - Integrated Framework, issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission ("COSO Framework") and the related guidance provided in Internal Control Over Financial Reporting – Guidance for Smaller Public Companies, also issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations.

 

Based on this evaluation, management has concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was not effective as of June 30, 2020. Our President and Principal Financial Officer concluded we have a material weakness due to our control environment, and one condition caused by this is an inadequate of segregation of duties. Our size has prevented us from being able to employ sufficient resources to enable us to have an adequate level of supervision and segregation of duties within our internal control system. There is one person involved in the processing of the Company's accounting and banking transactions and a single person with overall supervision and review of the cash disbursements and receipts and the overall accounting process. Therefore, while there are some compensating controls in place, it is difficult to ensure effective segregation of accounting duties. While we strive to segregate duties as much as practicable, there is an insufficient volume of transactions to justify additional full time staff. As a result of this material weakness, we have implemented remediation procedures whereby in May 2006 we engaged an outside accounting and consulting firm with SEC and US GAAP experience to assist us with the preparation of our financial statements, evaluation of complex accounting issues and the implementation of systems to improve controls and review procedures over all financial statement and account balances. We believe that this outside consultant's review improved our disclosure controls and procedures. If this review is effective throughout a period of time, we believe it will help remediate the segregation of duties material weakness. However, we may not be able to fully remediate the material weakness unless we hire more staff.  We will continue to monitor and assess the costs and benefits of additional staffing.

 

This annual report does not include an attestation report of the Company's independent registered public accounting firm regarding internal control over financial reporting. Management's report was not subject to attestation by the Company's independent registered public accounting firm pursuant to rules of the SEC that permit the Company to provide only management's report on internal control in this annual report.

 

ITEM 9B. OTHER INFORMATION

 

None.

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PART III

 

ITEM 10. DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE.

 

Our directors, executive officers and significant employees/consultants, along with their respective ages and positions are as follows:

 

Name   Age   Position
         
Directors and Officers:        
         
Mark A. Smith   70   Executive Chairman, President, General Counsel, Chief Financial Officer and Director
         
Edward T. Schafer   71    Vice Chairman and Director
         
Jon Northrop   77   Secretary and Director
         
Dominic Bassani   73   Chief Executive Officer
         

 

Mark A. Smith (70) currently serves Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. as Executive Chairman, President, General Counsel, Chief Financial Officer and a director and has continually served in senior positions since late March 2003. Since that time, he has also served as sole director, President and General Counsel of Bion's wholly-owned subsidiaries including Project Group and Services Group. Since mid-February 2003, Mr. Smith has served as sole director and President and General Counsel of Bion's majority-owned subsidiary, Centerpoint Corporation. Mr. Smith also serves as Manager of Bion PA1, LLC and Bion PA2, LLC. Previously, from May 21, 1999 through January 31, 2002, Mr. Smith served as a director of Bion. From July 23, 1999, when he became President of Bion, until mid-2001 when he ceased to be Chairman, Mr. Smith served in senior positions with Bion on a consulting basis. Additionally, Mr. Smith was the president of RSTS Corporation prior to its acquisition of Bion Technologies, Inc. in 1992. Mr. Smith received a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Colorado School of Law, Boulder, Colorado (1980) and a BS from Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts (1971). Mr. Smith has engaged in the private practice of law in Colorado since 1980. In addition, Mr. Smith has been active in running private family companies, Stonehenge Corporation (until 1994), LoTayLingKyur, Inc. (1994-2002) and LoTayLingKyur, LLC (2007-present). Until returning to Bion during March 2003, Mr. Smith had been in retirement with focus on charitable work and spiritual retreat. From July 2018 to March 2020 Mr. Smith served as a senior executive and director at Grow-Ray Technologies, Inc., a private LED lighting company based in Boulder, Colorado, on a consulting basis.

 

Edward T. Schafer (74) Edward Schafer previously served the Company's senior management team as Executive Vice Chairman and has been a member of the Company's Board of Directors since January 1, 2011. Mr. Schafer has served as a consultant to Bion since July 2010. Mr. Schafer served as a director of Continental Resources (NYSE-CLR) 2011-2016. He also chairs the Board of Directors of Dynamic Food Ingredients and the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation. In addition he has served on the Board of Governors of Amity Technology LLP since 2009, the Board of Directors of AGCO-Amity JV since it was formed in 2011. Mr. Schafer served as a trustee of the Investors Real Estate Trust (NASDAQGS-IRET) from September 2009 to October 2011. He also served as a trustee of the IRET from September 2006 through December 2007, when he resigned from the IRET's Board to serve as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture under President George W. Bush.  Mr. Schafer, a private investor, is a two-term former Governor of North Dakota. He served as Chief Executive Officer of Extend America, a telecommunications company, from 2001 to 2006, and he has been a member of the Boards of RDO Equipment Co., a privately-owned agricultural and construction equipment company (August 2001 to July 2003) and the University of North Dakota Foundation (June 2005 to December 2007). Since 2019 Mr. Schafer has served on the Board of Directors of Cellular Biomedicine Group (NASDAQ: CBMG) and is Chairman of its Audit Committee. Mr. Schafer serves as a board member of the Center for Innovation at the University of North Dakota and teaches a leadership class at North Dakota State University. Mr. Schafer is a past chair of the Republican Governors Association, the Midwestern Governors’ Association, the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact, the Western Governors’ Association and served as the 29th United States Secretary of Agricultural from 2008 to 2009. Mr. Schafer holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Denver. Mr. Schafer brings the following experience, qualifications, attributes and skills to the Company: general business management, budgeting and strategic planning experience from his service as Chief Executive Officer of Extend America and extensive government, regulatory, strategic planning, budgeting administrative and public affairs experience from his service as Governor of North Dakota and Secretary of the US Department of Agriculture.

 

51 
 
 

 

Jon Northrop (77) has served as our Secretary and a Director since March of 2003. Since September 2001 he has been self employed as a consultant with a practice focused on business buyer advocacy. Mr. Northrop is one of our founders and served as our Chief Executive Officer and a Director from our inception in September 1989 until August 2001. Before founding Bion Technologies, Inc., he served in a wide variety of managerial and executive positions. He was the Executive Director of Davis, Graham & Stubbs, one of Denver's largest law firms, from 1981 to 1989. Prior to his law firm experience, Mr. Northrop worked at Samsonite Corporation's Luggage Division in Denver, Colorado, for over 12 years. His experience was in all aspects of manufacturing, systems design and implementation, and planning and finance, ending with three years as the Division's Vice President, Finance. Mr. Northrop has a bachelor's degree in Physics from Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts (1965), an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (1969), and spent several years conducting post graduate research in low energy particle physics at Case Institute of Technology, Cleveland.

 

Dominic Bassani (73) has served as Chief Executive Officer of Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. since April 2011. Previously he was a full-time consultant to the Company and served as the General Manager of Bion's Projects Group subsidiary from April 2003 through September 2006. From September 15, 2008 he has served as Director-Special Projects and Strategic Planning of the Company and our Projects Group subsidiary. He has been an investor in and consultant to Bion since December 1999. He is an independent investor and since 1990 has owned and operated Brightcap, a management consulting company that provides management services to early stage technology companies. He was a founding investor in 1993 in Initial Acquisition Corp. that subsequently merged in 1995 with Hollis Eden Corp. (HEPH), a biotech company specializing in immune response drugs. From early 1998 until June 1999 he was a consultant to Internet Commerce Corp. (re-named EasyLink Services International Corporation) (ESIC), a leader in business-to-business transactions using the Internet. He is presently an investor in numerous private and public companies primarily in technology related businesses. From 1980 until 1986, Mr. Bassani focused primarily on providing management reorganization services to manufacturing companies and in particular to generic pharmaceutical manufacturers and their financial sponsors.

 

Family Relationships

 

There are currently no family relationships among our Directors and Executive Officers.

 

Compliance with Section 16(a) of the Exchange Act

 

Section 16(a) of the Exchange Act requires our officers and directors, and stockholders owning more than ten percent of a registered class of our equity securities, to file reports of ownership and changes in ownership with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company is not aware of any persons who failed to timely file reports under this section.

 

Involvement in Legal Proceedings

 

To the best of our knowledge, during the past five years, none of the following occurred with respect to our directors or executive officers:

 

(1)       any bankruptcy petition filed by or against any business of which one of them was a general partner or executive officer either at the time of the bankruptcy or within two years prior to that time;

 

(2)       any conviction in a criminal proceeding or being subject to a pending criminal proceeding (excluding traffic violations and other minor offenses);

 

(3)       being subject to any order, judgment or decree of any court of competent jurisdiction, permanently or temporarily inquiring, barring, suspending or otherwise limiting involvement in any type of business, securities or banking activities; and

 

(4)       being found by a court of competent jurisdiction, the SEC or the CFTC to have violated Federal or state securities or commodities laws.

 

Audit Committee

 

The Company has no audit committee and is not now required to have one, or an audit committee financial expert.

 

Code of Ethics

 

To date, the Company has not adopted a code of business conduct and ethics applicable to its officers, directors or accounting officer.

 

52 
 
 

 

 

ITEM 11. EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION.

 

The Company does not have a compensation committee due to its small size and limited resources. The Board of Directors directly reviews and authorizes all compensation matters.

 

SUMMARY COMPENSATION TABLE

 

The following table sets forth the compensation paid to, or accrued for, each of our current executive officers during each of our last two fiscal years.

 

                  Non-Equity  Nonqualified      
                  Incentive  Deferred      
               Option  Plan  Compen-  Other   
Name and Principal  Fiscal  Salary      Stock  Awards  Compen-  sation  Compen-   
Position  Year  (1)  Bonus  Awards  (2)  sation  Earnings  sation  Total
                            
                            
Mark A. Smith (3)   2020    216,000   $—      —      115,000    —      —      —     $331,000 
President and Chief   2019    216,000   $—      —      62,250    —      —      —     $278,250 

Financial Officer

Since March 25, 2003,

                                             
Director                                             
                                              
Brightcap/Dominic Bassani (4)   2020    372,000   $—      —      90,000    —      —      —     $462,000 
VP - Special Projects & Strategic   2019    372,000   $—      —      —      —      —      —     $372,000 

Planning and

Chief Executive Officer

                                             
                                              
Edward Schafer (5)   2020    —     $—      —      33,250    —      —      —     $33,250 
Executive Vice Chairman and Director   2019    —     $—      —      55,500    —      —      —     $55,500 
                                              

 

1.Includes compensation paid by Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. and our wholly owned subsidiaries.
2.Reflects the dollar amount expensed by the Company during the applicable fiscal year for financial statement
3.Effective October 2015, Mr. Smith agreed to provide services to Bion and subsidiaries, through an extension of a previously extended employment agreement, through June 30, 2016 at an annual salary of $228,000. In October 2016, the Company approved a month to month contract extension with Smith which included the issuance of 25,000 bonus shares which were subsequently cancelled), the grant of 75,000 options which vested immediately, a monthly deferred salary of $18,000 effective October 1, 2016 and the right to convert up to $125,000 of his deferred compensation, at his sole election, at $0.75 per share (which was expanded on April 27, 2017 to the right to convert up to $300,000) and the right to convert his deferred compensation in whole or in part, at his sole election, at any time in any amount at "market" or into securities sold in the Company's most current/recent private offering until December 31, 2019 (subsequently extended to December 31, 2024)..
4.In September 2014 the Company entered into an extension agreement with Brightcap for services provided to the Company by Dominic Bassani at an annual salary of $312,000 for services provided through April 15, 2015. On February 10, 2015, Mr. Bassani agreed to an extension to continue his employment through December 31, 2017 at an annual salary of $372,000 effective January 1, 2015. During October 2016, Bassani was granted the right to convert up to $125,000 of his deferred compensation, at his sole election, at $0.75 per share which was expanded on April 27, 2017 to the right to convert up to $300,000). During February 2018, the Company agreed to the material terms of a binding two-year extension agreement, while a fully executed agreement is still being negotiated. Bassani's annual salary will remain at $372,000 and the Company agreed to pay him $2,000 per month to be applied to life insurance premiums. The Company granted Bassani 2,000,000 fully vested options at $0.75 per share with an expiry date of December 31, 2022 which contain a 90% execution bonus and the options may be extended for an additional 5 years at $0.01 per share per extension year.
5.Mr. Schafer's compensation is determined periodically based on evaluation by the board of directors.

 

53 
 
 

 

Employment Agreements:

 

Mark A. Smith (“Smith”) has held the positions of Director, President and General Counsel of Company and its subsidiaries under various agreements and terms since March 2003 (details regard earlier years and periods between 2003 and 2011 may be found in the Company’s prior Forms 10-K and other SEC filings). During July 2011, the Company entered into an extension agreement pursuant to which Smith continued to hold his current positions in the Company through a date no later than December 31, 2012. Commencing January 1, 2012, Smith’s monthly salary was $20,000, which has been accrued and deferred. In addition, Smith has been issued 90,000 shares of the Company’s common stock in two tranches of 45,000 shares on each of January 15, 2013 and 2014, respectively. As part of the extension agreement, Mr. Smith was also granted 200,000 options, which vested immediately, to purchase common shares of the Company at a price of $3.00 per share and which options expire on December 31, 2019. Effective July 15, 2012, the Company entered into an extension agreement pursuant to which Smith will continue to hold his current positions in the Company through a date no later than June 30, 2014. Effective September 2012, Smith’s monthly salary became $21,000 (which is currently being deferred). In addition, Smith was issued 150,000 shares of the Company’s common stock in two tranches of 75,000 shares on each of January 15, 2014 and 2015, which shares vested immediately. As part of the extension agreement, Smith was also granted a bonus of $25,000 paid in warrants, which vested immediately, to purchase 250,000 shares of the Company’s common stock at a price of $2.10 per share and which warrants expire on December 31, 2018 and a contingent stock bonus of 100,000 shares payable on the date on which the Company’s stock price first reaches $10.00 per share (regardless of whether Smith is still providing services to the Company on such date). Mr. Smith has voluntarily reduced his monthly deferred salary accrual to $14,000 due to the Company’s financial situation. During September 2014, Smith agreed to continue his employment agreement through April 15, 2015 and also agreed to continue to defer his temporarily reduced salary of $14,000 per month.  On February 10, 2015, the Company executed an Extension Agreement with Smith pursuant to which Smith extended his employment with the Company to December 31, 2015 (with the Company having an option to extend his employment an additional six months).  As part of the Extension Agreement, the balance of Smith’s existing convertible note payable of $854,316 as of December 31, 2014, adjusted for conversions subsequent to that date, was replaced with a new convertible note with an initial principal amount of $760,519 with terms that i) materially reduced the interest rate by 50% (from 8% to 4%), ii) increased the conversion price by 11% (from $0.45 to $0.50), iii) set the conversion price at a fixed price so there can be no further reductions, iv) reduced the number of warrants received on conversion by 75% (from 1 warrant per unit to 1/4 per unit) and v) extended the maturity date to December 31, 2017 (which maturity date was subsequently extended to July 1, 2019).  Additionally, pursuant to the Extension Agreement, Smith: i) continued to defer his cash compensation ($18,000 per month) until the Board of Directors re-instates cash payments to all employees and consultants who are deferring their compensation,  ii) cancelled 150,000 contingent stock bonuses previously granted to him by the Company, iii) has been granted 150,000 new options which vested immediately and iv) outstanding options and warrants owned by Smith (and his donees) have been extended and had the exercise prices reduced to $1.50 (if above that price). Due to expiration of his most recent extension, Mr. Smith is currently serving the Company on a month-to –month basis.

 

54 
 
 

 

 

Dominic Bassani (“Bassani”) has served in senior management positions with the Company (as a full-time consultant) since 2001 (see prior Forms 10-K for earlier years and other filings with the SEC). Since March 31, 2005, the Company has had various agreements with Brightcap, Bassani’s family consulting company, through which the services of Bassani were provided through 2011. On September 30, 2009 the Company entered into an extension agreement with Brightcap pursuant to which Bassani provided services to the Company through September 30, 2012 for $312,000 annually (currently deferred). The Board appointed Bassani as the Company's CEO effective May 13, 2011. On July 15, 2011, Bassani, Brightcap and the Company agreed to an extension/amendment of the existing agreement with Brightcap which provided that Bassani serve as CEO through June 30, 2013 and would continue to provide full-time services to the Company in other capacities through June 30, 2014 at a salary of $26,000 per month. In addition Bassani was to be issued 300,000 shares of the Company’s common stock issuable in three tranches of 100,000 shares on each of January 15, 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively. Bassani was also granted 725,000 options, which vested immediately, to purchase shares of the Company’s common stock at $3.00 per share which options expired on December 31, 2019. Effective July 15, 2012, Bassani, Brightcap and the Company agreed to a further extension/amendment of the existing agreement with Brightcap which provided that Bassani would continue to provide the services of CEO through June 30, 2014. Bassani continued to provide full-time services to the Company at a cash salary of $26,000 per month (which has been deferred) and Bassani would be issued 300,000 shares of the Company’s common stock issuable in two tranches of 150,000 shares on each of January 15, 2015 and 2016, respectively, which shares would be immediately vested upon issuance. As part of the extension agreement, Bassani was also granted a bonus of $5,000 paid in warrants, which vested immediately, to purchase 50,000 shares of the Company’s common stock at a price of $2.10 per share and which warrants expired on December 31, 2018. During September 2014, Bassani agreed to extend his employment agreement until April 15, 2015 and that previously issued and expensed share grants of 100,000 and 150,000 shares that were to be issued on January 15, 2015, would be deferred until January 15, 2016.  On February 10, 2015, the Company executed an Extension Agreement with Bassani pursuant to which Bassani extended the term of his service to the Company to December 31, 2017, (with the Company having an option to extend the term an additional six months.)  As part of the agreement, the Company’s existing loan payable, deferred compensation and convertible note payable to Bassani, were restructured into two promissory notes as follows: a) The of sum of the cash loaned by Bassani to the Company of $279,000 together with $116,277 of unreimbursed expenses through December 31, 2014 were placed into a new promissory note with initial principal of $395,277 which was due and payable on December 31, 2015.  In connection with these sums and the new promissory note, Bassani was issued warrants to purchase 592,916 shares of the Company’s common stock at a price of $1.00 until December 31, 2020; and b) the remaining balances of the Company’s accrued obligations to Bassani ($1,464,545) were replaced with a new convertible promissory note with terms that compared with the largest prior convertible note obligation to Bassani:  i) materially reduced the interest rate by 50% (from 8% to 4%), ii) increased the conversion price by 11% (from $0.45 to $0.50), iii) set the conversion price at a fixed price so there can be no further reductions, iv) reduced the number of warrants received on conversion by 75% (from 1 warrant per unit to 1/4 per unit) and v) extended the maturity date to December 31, 2017 (See Note 6 to Financial Statements) (which maturity date was subsequently extended to July 1, 2019.  Additionally,  pursuant to the Extension Agreement, Bassani i) will continue to defer his cash compensation ($31,000 per month) until the Board of Directors re-instates cash payments to all employees and consultants who are deferring their compensation, ii) cancelled 250,000 contingent stock bonuses previously granted to him by the Company, iii) has been granted 450,000 new options which vested immediately and iv) outstanding options and warrants owned by Bassani (and his donees) have been extended and had the exercise prices reduced to $1.50(if above that price). On May 5, 2013, the Board of Directors approved agreements with Bassani and Smith, with effective date of May 15, 2013, in which Bassani and Smith agreed to continue to defer their respective cash compensation through April 30, 2014 (unless the Board of Directors elected to re-commence cash payment on an earlier date) and extended the due dates of their respective deferred cash compensation until January 15, 2015. The Company provided Bassani and Smith with convertible promissory notes which reflected all the terms of these agreements to which future accruals were added as additional principal. These convertible promissory notes were altered as set forth in the paragraphs below. As part of the agreements, Bassani and Smith also forgave any possible obligations that Bion may have owed each of them in relation to unused vacation time for periods (over 10 years) prior to June 30, 2012. In consideration of these agreements, Bassani and Smith: a) have been granted 50% ‘execution/exercise’ bonuses to be effective upon future exercise of outstanding (or subsequently acquired) options and warrants owned by Bassani and Smith (and their respective donees) and in relation to contingent stock bonuses; b) their warrants and options, if due to expire prior to December 31, 2018, were extended to that date (and later further extended); and c) other modifications were made.

 

 

55 
 
 

Effective January 1, 2011, the Company entered into an employment agreement with Edward Schafer (“Schafer”) pursuant to which for a period of three years, Schafer provided senior management services to the Company on an approximately 75% full time basis, initially as Executive Vice Chairman and as a director. Compensation for Schafer’s services were initially set at an annual rate of $250,000, which was to consist of $150,000 in cash compensation and $100,000 payable in the Company’s common stock. Commencing the month following the first calendar month-end after the Company has completed an equity financing in excess of $3,000,000 (net of commissions and other offering expenses), Schafer’s compensation was to be at an annual rate of $225,000, all of which would have been payable in cash. Effective July 15, 2012, the Company entered into a deferral/employment/ compensation agreement with Schafer pursuant to which Schafer provided senior management services to the Company on an approximately 75% full time basis, as Executive Vice Chairman and as a director. Basic compensation for Schafer’s services remained unchanged and Schafer was issued 100,000 options to purchase shares of the Company’s common stock at $2.10 per share until December 31, 2018, which options immediately vested and a contingent stock bonus of 25,000 shares payable on January 1 of the first year after the Company’s stock price first reaches $10.00 per share (regardless of whether Schafer is still providing services to the Company on such date). Since May 15, 2012 Schafer has deferred the cash portion of the compensation due him from the Company, in consideration of which he has been granted a 50% ‘execution/exercise’ bonus to be effective upon future exercise of outstanding (or subsequently acquired) options and warrants owned by Schafer (and his donees) and in relation to contingent stock bonuses. Effective January 1, 2014, Mr. Schafer agreed to continue his services to the Company as Director and Executive Vice-Chairman without periodic compensation in light of the Company’s financial situation. Mr. Schafer agreed not to receive any periodic compensation (cash or deferred) commencing January 1, 2014 and agreed to be compensated with bonuses from time-to-time as determined to be appropriate by the Board of Directors. No such bonuses have been declared to date. On February 10, 2015, the Company entered into an agreement with Schafer pursuant to which Schafer continued to provide services to the Company through December 31, 2015.  As part of the agreement, unreimbursed expenses of $15,956 due to Schafer at December 31, 2014 were replaced with a new promissory note with initial principal of $15,956 which was due and payable on December 31, 2015 and Schafer was issued warrants to purchase 7,978 shares of the Company’s common stock at a price of $1.00 until December 31, 2020. Schaefer’s deferred compensation for 2014 (and prior years) in the amount of $394,246 (including a sum of $120,000 for calendar year 2014) was placed in a convertible promissory note (See Note 6 to Financial Statements).  Additionally, pursuant to the  agreement, i) the exercise period of outstanding options and warrants owned by Schafer have been extended, ii) certain of Schafer’s outstanding options and warrants had the exercise prices reduced to $1.50 (if above that price), and iii) 25,000 contingent stock bonuses previously granted to Schafer have been cancelled by the Company. Effective June 30, 2016, Schafer and the Company determined that due to other obligations Schafer’s involvement with the Company during the 2016 fiscal year was less than anticipated and reduced his fiscal year 2016 compensation (all of which had been deferred) by $160,000 and agreed that future compensation will be determined periodically based on evaluation by the board of directors.

Bassani, Smith and Schafer each agreed, effective June 30, 2017, to extend the maturity date of the outstanding convertible promissory notes set forth in the paragraphs above from December 31, 2017 to July 1, 2019 which maturity date was subsequently extended to July 1, 2021.

On February 6, 2020 Bassani, Smith and Schafer (and a shareholder) each agreed to extend the maturity dates of their 2020 Convertible Obligations (“CVObligations”)(formerly convertible promissory notes) to July 1, 2024. If any of the CVObligations are converted, the warrants in units received will be exercisable through a date 3 years after conversion date.

 

Effective May 4, 2020 the Company agreed that all options and warrants owned (or subsequently acquired by conversion of CvObligations) by its officers, directors and key employees and consultants (including Jon Northrop (director), Bassani, Smith and Schafer) and their donees be amended to: a) lower the exercise price to $0.75 for any options/warrants with higher exercise prices and b) extend the expiration dates to 12/31/2024.

 

Other Agreements

The Company has declared contingent deferred stock bonuses to its key employees and consultants at various times throughout the years. The stock bonuses were contingent upon the Company’s stock price exceeding a certain target price per share, and the grantees still being employed by or providing services to the Company at the time the target prices are reached. During the year ended June 30, 2017, pursuant to agreement with the employees and a consultant who had been granted the outstanding contingent stock bonuses, the Company cancelled all 117,500 outstanding contingent stock bonuses. In consideration for the cancellations, the Company granted 109,500 fully vested options to these employees and a consultant to purchase common stock of the Company at $1.00 per share until December 31, 2024 (including recent extensions).

56 
 
 

 

 

OUTSTANDING EQUITY AWARDS AT FISCAL YEAR-END

 

The following table sets forth the number of shares of common stock covered by outstanding stock option awards that are exercisable and unexercisable, and the number of shares of common stock covered by unvested restricted stock awards for each of our named executive officers as of June 30, 2020.

 

Outstanding Equity Awards at Fiscal Year-End

 

                  
    Option Awards     Stock Awards 
                                              
                                            
                                           
              Equity Incentive Plan Awards:                       Equity Incentive Plan Awards:

    

Equity

Incentive Plan

Awards:

 
                                Market Value of        Market or 
                             Number of     Shares or    Number of     Payout Value of 
                            Shares or    Units of     Unearned Shares,    Unearned Shares, 
    Number of Securities     Number of Securities     Number of Securities             Units of Stock That    Units of Stock     

Units

or

Other

    

Units

or

Other

 
    Underlying Unexercised Options (#)    Underlying Unexercised Options (#)    Underlying Unexercised Unearned    Option Exercise Price    Option Expiration     Have Not Vested    That Have Not    Rights That Have Not     Rights That Have Not 
Name   Exercisable    Unexercisable     Options (#)    ($)    Date     (#)    Vested     Vested     Vested 
Mark A. Smith (1)   100,000    —      —      $0.60    2024    —      —      —      —   
Mark A. Smith (1)   1,675,000    —      —      $0.75    2024    —      —      —      —   
Mark A. Smith (2)   200,000    —      —      $0.75    2024    —      —      —      —   
                                              
Brightcap/Dominic Bassani (1)   1,675,000    —      —      $0.75    2024    —      —      —      —   
Brightcap/Dominic Bassani (2)   2,000,000    —      —      $0.75    2024    —      —      —      —   
                   $                           
Edward Schafer (3)   25,000    —      —      $0.60    2024    —      —      —      —   
Edward Schafer (3)   300,000    —      —      $0.75    2024    —      —      —      —   
Edward Schafer (1)   600,000    —      —      $0.75    2024    —      —      —      —   
Edward Schafer (2)   190,000    —      —      $0.75    2024    —      —      —      —   

 

(1)Options are subject to a 75% execution/exercise bonus upon notice of intent to exercise.
(2)Options are subject to a 90% execution/exercise bonus upon notice of intent to exercise.
(3)Options are subject to a 50% execution/exercise bonus upon notice of intent to exercise.

 

 

 

57 
 
 

 

 

Director Compensation

 

Members of the Board of Directors do not currently receive any cash compensation for their services as Directors, but are entitled to be reimbursed for their reasonable expenses in attending meetings of the Board. However, it is the Company's intention to begin to pay cash compensation to Board members at some future date.

 

DIRECTOR COMPENSATION

 

The following table sets forth certain information regarding the compensation paid to directors during the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020:

 

 

 

 

 

Name

 

 

Fees Earned

or Paid

in Cash

($)

 

 

 

Stock

Awards

($)

 

 

 

Option

Awards

($)(1)

 

Non-equity

Incentive

Plan Com-

pensation

($)

 

 

Nonqualified

Deferred

Compensation Earnings ($)

 

All Other

Compen-

sation

($)

 

 

 

 

Total

($)

                                    
Jon Northrop   —      —      28,750    —      —      —      28,750 

 

(1)Reflects the dollar amount expensed by the Company during the applicable fiscal year for financial statement reporting purposes pursuant to ASC 718.

 

 

ITEM 12.  SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS

 

As of August 31, 2020, the Registrant had 31,525,656 shares of common stock issued and 30,821,347 shares of common stock outstanding. (the balance of 704,309 shares are owned by Centerpoint, the Company's majority-owned subsidiary).

 

The following table sets forth certain information regarding the beneficial ownership of our common stock as of August 31, 2020 by:

 

each person that is known by us to beneficially own more than 5% of our common stock;
each of our directors;
each of our executive officers and significant employees; and
all our executive officers, directors and significant employees as a group.

 

Under the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission, beneficial ownership includes voting or investment power with respect to securities and includes the shares issuable under stock options, warrants and convertible securities that are exercisable/convertible within sixty (60) days of August 31, 2020.  Those shares issuable under stock options, warrants and/or convertible securities are deemed outstanding for computing the percentage of each person holding options, warrants and/or convertible securities but are not deemed outstanding for computing the percentage of any other person.  The percentage of beneficial ownership schedule is based upon 30,821,347 shares outstanding as of August 31, 2020.  The address for those individuals for which an address is not otherwise provided is c/o Bion Environmental Technologies, c/o PO Box 323, Old Bethpage, NY 11804.  To our knowledge, except as indicated in the footnotes to this table and pursuant to applicable community property laws, the persons named in the table have sole voting power and investment power with respect to all shares of common stock listed as owned by them.

 

 

58 
 
 

 

 

 

Name and Address

 

 

 

Number

 

Percent of

Class

Outstanding

 

 

Entitled

To Vote

          

Centerpoint Corporation(1)

c/o PO Box 323

Old Bethpage, NY 11604

   704,309    2.3%   —   
                

Dominic Bassani(2)

64 Village Hills Drive

Dix Hills, NY 11746

   13,156,139    30.1%   30.6%
                

Anthony Orphanos(3)

c/o Blacksmith Advisors, LLC

320 Park Avenue, 18th Floor

New York, NY 10022

   2,969,185    9.2%   9.4%
                

Danielle Lominy(4)

c/o Dominic Bassani

64 Village Hills Drive

Dix Hills, NY 11746

   7,870,195    20.3%   20.7%
                

Christopher B. Parlow(8)
23 Longbow Drive

Commack, NY 11725 

   7,874,199    20.3%   20.7%
                

Mark A. Smith (5)

520 Emery Street, #6

Longmont, Colorado 80501

   7,788,332    20.0%   20.4%
                
Edward T. Schafer(6)   2,727,895    8.0%   8.2%
                
Jon Northrop(7)   544,789    1.7%   1.8%
                

All executive officers and directors

as a group (4 persons)

   24,217,155    44.8%   45.4%

___________________________

 

(1)Centerpoint Corporation is currently majority owned by the Company. Under Colorado law, Centerpoint Corporation is not entitled to vote these shares unless otherwise ordered by a court. These shares of common stock may be distributed to the shareholders of Centerpoint Corporation at a future date pursuant to a dividend declared during July 2004. The shares distributed to Bion, if any, will be cancelled immediately upon receipt.
(2)Includes 62,201 shares, 3,675,000 shares underlying options and 965,000 shares underlying warrants held directly by Mr. Bassani; 354,342 shares and 250,000 shares underlying warrants held by Mr. Bassani’s wife; and 839,933 shares held in IRA accounts of Mr. Bassani and his wife. Also included are the shares set forth below owned (directly and indirectly) by Mr. Bassani’s daughter, Danielle Lominy (formerly Danielle Bassani) who resides within his residence and are included in Mr. Bassani’s beneficial ownership for purposes of the calculation including: a) 576,000 shares directly b) 646,458 shares underlying warrants owned directly; and c) Danielle Lominy is the 50% beneficiary of the Dominic Bassani 2019 Irrevocable Trust (“2019Trust”) which owns: i) 3,000,000 warrants to purchase shares of the Company’s common stock and, as a result, Danielle Lominy is the beneficial owner of 1,500,000 shares underlying warrants and ii) $2,424,173 principal amount of the Company’s 2020 Convertible Obligation (“CVObligation”) which is convertible into 4,848,346 shares and 2,424,173 warrants and, as a result, Danielle Lominy is the beneficial owner of 2,424,173 shares underlying conversion of the CVObligation and 1,212,087 shares underlying the warrants issuable on conversion of the CVObligation. The total also includes: a) 277,670 shares of common stock that could be issued on the conversion (at the election of Bassani) by Mr. Bassani of convertible notes in the amount of $165,653, and b) 373,275 shares of common stock that could be issued on the conversion (at the election of Bassani) by Bassani of deferred compensation in the amount of $194,103. Mr. Bassani disclaims ownership of 1,511,477 shares underlying warrants held by the Danielle Christine Bassani Trust, which is separately itemized herein. Mr. Bassani’s adult daughter Danielle Lominy (formerly Danielle Bassani), who resides within his residence, is the beneficiary of the Danielle Christine Bassani Trust and Mr. Bassani is not one of the trustees of the trust. Mr. Bassani further disclaims beneficial ownership of shares and warrants owned by various other family members (including Christopher Parlow who is itemized separately), none of whom live with him or are his dependents, and such shares are not included in this calculation.

 

 

59 
 
 

 

 

(3)Includes 570,063 shares held directly by Mr. Orphanos; 156,750 shares underlying warrants held directly by Mr. Orphanos;120,263 shares held jointly with his wife; 1,425,374 shares held in IRA accounts; and 696,735 shares of common stock that could be issued on conversion of $418,041 convertible notes. Not included are 400,000 shares and 1,511,477 shares underlying warrants held by the Danielle Christine Bassani Trust, of which Mr. Orphanos is a co-trustee, and 2,939,917 common shares owned by certain clients of Blacksmith Advisors, over which Mr. Orphanos exercises discretionary authority (which shares include: a) 839,933 shares held in IRA accounts for Mr. Bassani and his wife; b) 354,342 shares held by Mr. Bassani’s wife; c) 5,624 shares held by Mr. Bassani personally; and d) 68,000 shares owned by Danielle Lominy (formerly Danielle Bassani). Mr. Orphanos disclaims beneficial ownership of the shares listed in the preceding sentences because he has no pecuniary interest in the shares.
(4)Includes 176,000 shares held directly by Danielle Lominy (formerly Danielle Bassani), 1,511,477 shares underlying warrants held by The Danielle Christine Bassani Trust, Anthony Orphanos and Donald Codignotto, trustees; 400,000 shares owned by the Danielle Bassani Trust, 311,458 shares underlying warrants, 105,000 shares underlying warrants owned jointly with husband and 230,000 shares underlying warrants owned by Danielle Lominy’s daughter. In addition, Danielle is the 50% beneficial owner of the Dominic Bassani 2019 Irrevocable Trust (“2019 Trust”) which owns 3,000,000 warrants to purchase shares of the Company’s common stock and, as a result Danielle Lominy is the beneficial owner of 1,500,000 shares underlying exercise of the warrants. Additionally, the 2019 Trust owns $2,424,173 principal amount of the Company’s 2020 Convertible Obligation (“CVObligation”) which is convertible into 4,848,346 shares and 2,424,173 warrants. As a result, Danielle Lominy is the beneficial owner of 2,424,173 shares underlying conversion of the CVObligation and 1,212,087 shares underlying the warrants issuable on conversion of the CVObligation.
(5)Includes 132,511 shares held jointly by Mark A. Smith with his wife, 62,535 shares held by Mark Smith in an IRA; 1,975,000 shares underlying options held directly by Mr. Smith, 1,377,153 shares underlying warrants held directly by Mr. Smith; 53,756 shares held by his wife in her IRA, 12,681 shares of common stock held by LoTayLingKyur Foundation and 126,000 shares of common stock held by LoTayLingKyur LLC which is controlled by Mr. Smith and his wife. Also includes 2,253,314 shares and 1,689,986 warrants underlying units that could be issued on the conversion (at the election of Mr. Smith) by Mr. Smith of his CVObligation in the aggregate amount of $1,126,657. Also includes 105,396 shares of common stock that could be issued on the conversion (at the election of Mr. Smith) by Mr. Smith of deferred compensation in the amount of $52,698. Does not include shares and warrants owned by various family members of which Mr. Smith disclaims beneficial ownership. Mr. Smith is also the President of Centerpoint, although shares owned by Centerpoint are not entitled to a vote while held by Centerpoint.
(6)Includes 158,254 shares held directly by Mr. Schafer, options to purchase 790,000 shares and warrants to purchase 23,934 shares. Also includes 931,978 shares and 465,989 warrants underlying units that could be issued on the conversion by Mr. Schafer of his CVObligation in the amount of $465,989. Also includes 32,740 shares of common stock that could be issued on the conversion (at the election of Mr. Schafer) by Mr. Schafer of a convertible note in the amount of $19,644.
(7)Includes 127,289 shares held directly by Jon Northrop and options to purchase 417,500 shares held by Jon Northrop. Does not include shares or options owned by the adult children of Jon Northrop nor his former wife.
(8)Includes 2,005 shares held directly by Christopher Parlow; 65,000 shares held jointly with wife; 250,000 shares owned by the Christopher Parlow Trust and 50,000 shares owned by Christopher Parlow’s minor daughters. Also includes 1,614,000 shares underlying warrants held by the Christopher Parlow Trust, 147,154 shares underlying warrants held jointly with wife, 150,000 warrants held directly by Mr. Parlow and 459,780 shares underlying warrants held by Mr. Parlow’s minor daughters. In addition, Christopher is the 50% beneficial owner of the Dominic Bassani 2019 Irrevocable Trust (“2019 Trust”) which owns 3,000,000 warrants to purchase shares of the Company’s common stock and, as a result, Christopher Parlow is the beneficial owner of 1,500,000 shares underlying exercise of the warrants. Additionally, the 2019 Trust owns $2,424,173 of CVObligation which is convertible into 4,848,346 shares and 2,424,173 warrants. As a result, Christopher Parlow is the beneficial owner of 2,424,173 shares underlying conversion of the CVObligation and 1,212,087 shares underlying the warrants issuable on conversion of the CVObligation.

 

 

ITEM 13. CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE.

 

Other than the employment/consulting agreements, deferred compensation arrangements and conversions of debt described above in Item 1 Business and Item 11 Executive Compensation, there are no related party transactions except that:

 

No directors of the Company are considered to be independent directors.

 

60 
 
 

 

ITEM 14. PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTING FEES AND SERVICES.

 

Audit Fees

 

In January 2017 the Company engaged Eide Bailly LLP as its independent registered public accounting firm.  The aggregate fees billed for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2020 and June 30, 2019 by Eide Bailly LLP for professional services rendered for the audit of the Company's annual financial statements and reviews of interim financial statements included in the Company's quarterly reports on Form 10-Q (and related matters) were $55,000 and $47,000, respectively.

 

Audit Related Fees

 

There were no fees billed by Eide Bailly LLP for audit-related fees in each of the last two fiscal years ended June 30, 2020 and June 30, 2019.

 

Tax Fees

 

The aggregate fees billed for tax services rendered by Eide Bailly LLP for tax compliance and related services for the two fiscal years ended June 30, 2020 and June 30, 2019 were $12,300 and nil, respectively.

 

All Other Fees

 

None.

 

Audit Committee Pre-Approval Policy

 

Under provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the Company's principal accountant may not be engaged to provide non-audit services that are prohibited by law or regulation to be provided by it, and the Board of Directors (which serves as the Company's audit committee) must pre-approve the engagement of the Company's principal accountant to provide audit and permissible non-audit services. The Company's Board has not established any policies or procedures other than those required by applicable laws and regulations.

 

 

61 
 
 

 

 

PART IV

 

ITEM 15. EXHIBITS, FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES.

 

(a) Exhibits

 

Exhibit
NumberDescription and Location

 

3.1Articles of Incorporation. (1)

 

3.2Bylaws. (1)

 

10.1Subscription Agreement dated January 10, 2002 between Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. and Centerpoint Corporation regarding issuance of stock in exchange for cash and claims regarding Aprilia. (1)

 

10.2Agreement dated March 15, 2002 and effective January 15, 2002 between Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. and Centerpoint Corporation regarding purchase of warrant and management agreement. (1)

 

10.3Agreement dated February 12, 2003 between Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. and Centerpoint Corporation canceling provisions of the Subscription Agreement by and between Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. and Centerpoint Corporation. (1)

 

10.4Promissory Note and Security Agreement between Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. and Bright Capital, LLC. (1)

 

10.5First Amendment to Lease between Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. and Pan Am Equities Corp. (1)

 

10.6Agreement between Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. and Bergen Cove. (1)

 

10.7Agreement between Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. and David Mitchell dated April 7, 2003. (1)

 

10.8Letter Agreement with Bright Capital, Ltd. (1)

 

10.9Agreement with OAM, S.p.A. dated May 2003. (1)

 

10.10Amended Agreement with Centerpoint Corporation dated April 23, 2003. (1)

 

10.11Form of Series A Secured Convertible Notes issued in August 2003. (1)

 

10.12Financing Documents for Bion Dairy Corporation. (1)

 

10.13Form of Class SV/DB Warrant. (1)

 

10.14Form of Class SV/DM Warrant. (1)

 

10.15Form of Series A* Secured Convertible Notes issued in April 2004. (1)

 

10.16Form of Series B Secured Convertible Notes issued in Spring 2004. (1)

 

10.17Form of Series B* Secured Convertible Notes issued in June 2004. (1)

 

10.18Form of Series C Notes issued in September 2005. (1)

 

10.19Form of 2006 Series A Convertible Promissory Notes issued in September 2006. (1)

 

10.20Form of Non-Disclosure Agreement used by the Company. (1)

 

10.21Promissory Note and Conversion Agreement between Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. and Mark A. Smith related to deferred compensation. (1)

 

 

 

62 
 
 

 

10.22Promissory Note and Conversion Agreement between Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. and Bright Capital, Ltd. related to deferred compensation. (1)

 

10.23Employment agreement with Mark A. Smith. (1)

 

10.24Employment agreement with Salvatore Zizza. (1)

 

10.25Employment agreement with Bright Capital, Ltd. (1)

 

10.26Employment agreement with Jeff Kapell. (1)

 

10.27Employment agreement with Jeremy Rowland. (1)

 

10.28Office lease at 641 Lexington Avenue, 17th Floor, New York. (1)

 

10.292006 Consolidated Incentive Plan. (1)

 

10.30Memo to Dominic Bassani & Bright Capital, Ltd. dated October 16, 2006 regarding Change in Title/Status of DB/Amendment to Brightcap Agreement. (1)

 

10.31Letter Agreement between Bion Dairy Corporation and Fair Oaks Dairy Farms dated June 19, 2006. (2)

 

10.32Waiver and Release Agreement with Ardour Capital Investments, LLC. (2)

 

10.33Promissory Note and Conversion Agreement for Mark Smith, dated January 1, 2007. (2)

 

10.34Promissory Note and Conversion Agreement for Salvatore Zizza, dated January 1, 2007. (2)

 

10.35Promissory Note and Conversion Agreement for Bright Capital, Ltd., dated January 1, 2007. (2)

 

10.36Extension Agreement dated March 31, 2007 between the Company and Mark A Smith. (3)

 

10.37Form of Note dated March 31, 2007 in the amount of $151,645.89 in favor of Mark A. Smith. (3)

 

10.38Form of Note dated March 31, 2007 in the amount of $379,389.04 in favor of Salvatore Zizza. (3)

 

10.39Form of Note dated March 31, 2007 in the amount of $455.486.30 in favor of Bright Capital, Ltd. (3)

 

10.40Stipulation and Agreement of Compromise and Release dated May 21, 2007 between Centerpoint Corporation, Bion Environmental Technologies, Richard Anderson and Joseph Foglia, as Plaintiffs, and Comtech Group, Inc., OAM S.p.A., Invested Ernst & Company and others as Defendants. (4)

 

10.41Stipulation and Agreement of Compromise, Settlement and Release dated May 15, 2007 between TCMP3 Partners, LLP as Plaintiff and Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. and Bion Dairy Corporation, among others, as Defendants. (4)

 

10.42Stipulation and Agreement of Compromise, Settlement and Release as to Certain Defendants dated May 15, 2007 between TCMP3 Partners, LLP as Plaintiff and certain defendants other than Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. and Bion Dairy Corporation. (4)

 

10.43Letter of Intent dated August 18, 2007 between Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. and Evergreen Farm, Inc. (5)

 

10.44Memorandum of Understanding with Kreider Farms. (6)

 

10.45Subscription Agreement from Bright Capital, Ltd. (7)

 

10.46Amendment to 2006 Consolidated Incentive Plan. (7)

 

10.47Agreement between the Company and Mark A. Smith dated May 31, 2008. (7)

 

 

 

63 
 
 

 

10.482007 Series AB Convertible Promissory Note. (8)

 

10.49Promissory Note between Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. and Salvatore Zizza. (9)

 

10.50Promissory Note between Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. and Dominic Bassani. (9)

 

10.51Agreement between Jeff Kapell and Bion dated November 1, 2008. (10)

 

10.52Agreement between David Mager and Bion dated November 1, 2008. (10)

 

10.53Promissory Note between Anthony Orphanos and Bion dated October 30, 2008, Guaranteed by Dominic Bassani. (10)

 

10.54Addendum to Settlement Agreement and Release Stipulation from Bion, Bion Dairy and Mark Smith dated October 31, 2008. (10)

 

10.55Kreider Farms Agreement (September 25, 2008): REDACTED. (11)

 

10.56Agreement between Salvatore Zizza and Bion effective December 31, 2008. (12)

 

10.57Amendment #3 to 2006 Consolidated Incentive Plan. (12)

 

10.58Agreement between Bright Capital, Ltd. and Dominic Bassani and Bion effective January 11, 2009. (13)

 

10.59Agreement between Mark A. Smith and Bion effective January 12, 2009. (13)

 

10.60Orphanos Extension Agreement dated January 13, 2009. (13)

 

10.61Articles of Amendment including Statement of Designation and Determination of Preferences of Series B Convertible Preferred Stock. (14)

 

10.62Lease Agreement between Ronald Kreider and Kreider Farms and Bion PA 1 LLC dated June 26, 2009. (15)

 

10.63Capitalization Agreement between Bion Companies and Bion PA 1 LLC dated June 30, 2009. (15)

 

10.64Zizza Notice re Master Sublease Option Exercise (November 20, 2009). (16)

 

10.65Town of Schroeppel resolution (December 10, 2009). (16)

 

10.66Articles of Amendment including Statement of Designation and Determination of Preferences of Series C Convertible Preferred Stock. (17)

 

10.67Extension Agreement with Mark A. Smith. (18)

 

10.68Agreement with Edward Schafer. (18)

 

10.69Accepted Funding Offer (base loan agreement) (without exhibits) with PENNVEST for Kreider Farms Project Loan -- effective November 3, 2010. (19)

 

10.70Short Form Agreement. (20)

 

10.71Resume of William O’Neill. (20)

 

10.72Loan & Security Agreement with Milestone Bank. (21)

 

10.73O'Neill Employment Agreement (dated December 22, 2010). (22)

 

10.74Schafer Employment Agreement (dated December 21, 2010). (22)

 

10.75Biography of Edward T. Schafer. (22)

 

 

 

64 
 
 

 

10.76James Morris Employment Agreement. (23)

 

10.77John R. Grabowski Employment Agreement. (23)

 

10.78Kreider Farms Clarification Agreement. (23)

 

10.79Resignation of William O’Neill (effective May 13, 2011). (24)

 

10.80PADEP Certification of Kreider Poultry Credits. (25)

 

10.81Bassani/Bright Capital Extension Agreement (executed August 31, 2011) (26)

 

10.82Smith Extension Agreement (executed August 31, 2011) (26)

 

10.83Bloom Employment Agreement (executed September 30, 2011) (27)

 

10.84Extension/Conversion Agreement with Smith and Bassani (dated March 31, 2012) (28)

 

10.85Memorialization of extension of Maturity of Bassani convertible deferred compensation (dated July 31, 2012) (29)

 

10.86Kreider Permit (dated August 1, 2012) (29)

 

10.87Memorialization of Smith Extension Agreement (dated August 14, 2012) (30)

 

10.88Memorialization of Bassani Extension Agreement (dated August 14, 2012) (30)

 

10.89Memorialization of Schafer Agreement (dated August 21, 2012) (30)

 

10.90Board Ratification dated May 5, 2013 (31)

 

10.91Demand Promissory Note dated May 13, 2013 (31)

 

10.92Pennvest Demand Letter (dated September 25, 2014) (32)

 

10.93Extension Agreement with Mark A. Smith (w/o exhibits) (February 10, 2015) (33)

 

10.94Extension Agreement with Dominic Bassani (w/o exhibits) (February 10, 2015) (33)

 

10.95Agreement with Edward Schafer (w/o exhibits) (February 10, 2015) (33)

 

10.96Convertible Promissory Note between the Company and Dominic Bassani dated September 8, 2015 (34)

 

10.97Convertible Promissory Note between the Company and Edward Schafer dated September 8, 2015 (34)

 

10.98Convertible Promissory Note between the Company and Anthony Orphanos dated September 8, 2015 (34)

 

10.99Kreider Poultry Joint Venture Agreement (May 5, 2016) (35)

 

10.100Bassani Warrant Purchase effective August 1, 2018 (36)

 

10.101Smith Warrant Purchase effecitve August 1, 2018 (36)

 

10.102Amendment #9 to 2006 Consolidated Incentive Plan, as amended (36)

 

21Subsidiaries of the Registrant. (1)

 

 

65 
 
 

 

 

31.1Certification of Chief Executive Officer Pursuant to Section 302 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 - Filed herewith electronically.

 

31.2Certification of Principal Financial Officer Pursuant to Section 302 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 - Filed herewith electronically.

 

32.1Certification of Chief Executive Officer Pursuant to Section 18 U.S.C. Section 1350 - Filed herewith electronically.

 

32.2Certification of Principal Financial Officer Pursuant to Section 18 U.S.C. Section 1350 - Filed herewith electronically.

_______________

 

(1)       Filed with Form 10SB12G on November 14, 2006.

(2)       Filed with Form 10SB12G/A on February 1, 2007.

(3)       Filed with Form 8-K on April 3, 2007.

(4)       Filed with Form 8-K on August 13, 2007.

(5)       Filed with Form 8-K on August 22, 2007.

(6)       Filed with Form 8-K on February 27, 2008.

(7)       Filed with Form 8-K on June 3, 2008.

(8)       Filed with Form 8-K on June 19, 2008.

(9)       Filed with Form 8-K on September 30, 2008.

(10)       Filed with Form 8-K on November 13, 2008.

(11)       Filed with September 30, 2008 Form 10-Q on November 14, 2008.

(12)       Filed with Form 8-K on January 6, 2009.

(13)       Filed with Form 8-K on January 15, 2009.

(14)       Filed with March 31, 2009 Form 10-Q on May 14, 2009.

(15)       Filed with Form 8-K on July 2, 2009.

(16)       Filed with Form 8-K on December 15, 2009.

(17)       Filed with December 31, 2009 Form 10-Q on February 9, 2010.

(18)       Filed with Form 8-K on August 18, 2010.

(19)       Filed with Form 8-K on November 3, 2010.

(20)       Filed with Form 8-K on November 22, 2010.

(21)       Filed with Form 8-K on December 6, 2010.

(22)       Filed with Form 8-K on December 28, 2010.

(23)       Filed with Form 8-K on March 16, 2011.

(24)       Filed with Form 8-K on May 13, 2011.

(25)       Filed with Form 8-K on June 1, 2011.

(26)       Filed with Form 8-K on September 2, 2011.

(27)       Filed with Form 8-K on October 4, 2011.

(28)       Filed with Form 8-K on April 4, 2012.

(29)       Filed with Form 8-K on August 3, 2012

(30)       Filed with Form 8-K on August 21, 2012.

(31)       Filed with March 31, 2013 Form 10-Q on May 14, 2013.

(32)       Filed with June 30, 2014 10-K on September 26, 2014.

(33)       Filed with December 31, 2014 Form 10-Q on February 11, 2015

(34)       Filed with June 30, 2015 Form 10-K on September 22, 2016

(35)       Filed with March 31, 2016 Form 10-Q on May 9, 2016

(36)       Filed with June 30, 2019 Form 10-K on September 24, 2019

 

(b) Financial Statement Schedules

 

Our consolidated financial statements being filed as part of this Form 10-K are filed on Item 8 of this Form 10-K. All other schedules for which provision is made in the applicable accounting regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission are not required under the related instructions or are inapplicable, and therefore have been omitted.

 

 

 

66 
 
 
   
   
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm  F-2
   
   F-3
   
Consolidated balance sheets     F-4
   
Consolidated statements of operations     F-5
   
Consolidated statements of changes in stockholders’ equity (deficit)  F-6
   
Consolidated statements of cash flows  F-7
   
Notes to consolidated financial statements  F-8 - F-31

 

 

 

 

 

F-1 
 
 

 

 

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

 

 

To the Board of Directors and Stockholders
Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc.

Old Bethpage, New York

 

Opinion on the Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. (the “Company”) as of June 30, 2020 and 2019, and the related consolidated statements of operations, changes in stockholders’ equity (deficit), and cash flows, for the years then ended, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the “financial statements”). In our opinion, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. as of June 30, 2020 and 2019, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the years then ended, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

 

Going Concern

The accompanying financial statements have been prepared assuming that the Company will continue as a going concern. As discussed in Note 1 to the financial statements, the Company has not generated significant revenue and has suffered recurring losses from operations. These factors raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern. Management’s plans in regard to these matters are also discussed in Note 1. The financial statements do not include any adjustments that might result from the outcome of this uncertainty.

 

Basis for Opinion

These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) ("PCAOB") and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

 

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. The Company is not required to have, nor were we engaged to perform, an audit of its internal control over financial reporting. As part of our audits we are required to obtain an understanding of internal control over financial reporting but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the entity’s internal control over financial reporting. Accordingly, we express no such opinion.

 

Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risk of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

 

/s/ Eide Bailly LLP

 

We have served as Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. auditor since 2017.

 

Denver, Colorado

September 22, 2020

  

 

 

F-2 
 
 

 

BION ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

 

   June 30,  June 30,
   2020  2019
       
ASSETS      
       
Current assets:          
Cash  $560,828   $41,335 
Prepaid expenses   7,965    8,005 
Deposits   1,000    1,000 
           
Total current assets   569,793    50,340 
           
Property and equipment, net (Note 3)   1,368    2,616 
           
Total assets  $571,161   $52,956 
           
LIABILITIES AND EQUITY (DEFICIT)          
           
Current liabilities:          
Accounts payable and accrued expenses  $628,926   $715,554 
Series B Redeemable Convertible Preferred stock, $0.01 par value,          
  50,000 shares authorized; 200 shares issued and outstanding,          
  liquidation preference of $38,000 and $36,000, respectively (Note 8)   35,400    33,400 
Paycheck Protection Program loan (Note 6)   14,933    —   
Deferred compensation (Note 5)   778,217    874,162 
Loan payable and accrued interest (Note 6)   9,585,883    9,303,270 
           
Total current liabilities   11,043,359    10,926,386 
           
Paycheck Protection Program loan (Note 6)   19,919    —   
Convertible notes payable - affiliates (Note 7)   4,595,841    3,801,168 
           
Total liabilities   15,659,119    14,727,554 
           
           
Deficit:          
Bion's stockholders' equity (deficit):          
Series A Preferred stock, $0.01 par value, 50,000 shares authorized,          
   no shares issued and outstanding   —      —   
           
Series C Convertible Preferred stock, $0.01 par value,          
60,000 shares authorized; no shares issued and outstanding   —      —   
           

Common stock, no par value, 100,000,000 shares authorized,

   31,409,005 and 28,068,688 shares issued, respectively;

   30,704,696 and 27,364,379 shares outstanding, respectively

       —   
Additional paid-in capital   114,266,683    110,126,802 
Subscription receivable - affiliates (Note 9)   (504,650)   (504,650)
Accumulated deficit   (128,891,893)   (124,346,158)
           
Total Bion’s stockholders’ deficit   (15,129,860)   (14,724,006)
           
Noncontrolling interest   41,902    49,408 
           
Total deficit   (15,087,958)   (14,674,598)
           
Total liabilities and deficit  $571,161   $52,956 

 

 

See notes to consolidated financial statements

 

 

F-3 
 
 

BION ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

YEARS ENDED JUNE 30, 2020 AND 2019

 

   2020  2019
       
Revenue  $   $ 
           
           
Operating expenses:          
General and administrative (including stock-based          
compensation  (Note 8))   3,089,689    1,724,677 
Depreciation   1,248    1,314 
Research and development (including stock-based          
compensation (Note 8))   1,123,836    520,084 
           
           
Total operating expenses   4,214,773    2,246,075 
           
Loss from operations   (4,214,773)   (2,246,075)
           
Other (income) expense:          
Gain on extinguishment of liabilities   (122,423)   —   
Other income   (6,000)   —   
Interest expense, net   466,891    413,057 
           
Total other expense   338,468    413,057 
           
Net loss   (4,553,241)   (2,659,132)
           
Net loss attributable to the noncontrolling interest   7,506    4,930 
           
Net loss applicable to Bion's common stockholders  $(4,545,735)  $(2,654,202)
           
Net loss applicable to Bion's common stockholders          
per basic and diluted common share  $(0.16)  $(0.10)
           
Weighted-average number of common shares outstanding:          
Basic and diluted   29,031,106    26,522,326 

 

See notes to consolidated financial statements

 

 


F-4 
 
 
                                     

BION ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CHANGES IN STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY (DEFICIT)

YEARS ENDED JUNE 30, 2020 AND 2019

   Series A Preferred Stock  Series C Preferred Stock  Common Stock  Additional  Subscription Receivables for  Accumulated  Noncontrolling  Total
   Shares  Amount  Shares  Amount  Shares  Amount  paid-in capital  Shares  deficit  interest  equity/(deficit)
                                  
Balances, July 1, 2018   —      —      —      —      25,939,892    —      108,117,330    (174,650)   (121,691,956)   54,338    (13,694,938)
Issuance of common stock for services   —      —      —      —      134,162    —      93,408    —      —      —      93,408 
Vesting of options for services   —      —      —      —      —      —      236,100    —      —      —      236,100 
Modification of options   —      —      —      —      —      —      222,300    —      —      —      222,300 
Sale of units   —      —      —      —      1,793,606    —      896,801    —      —      —      896,801 
Commissions on sale of units   —      —      —      —      1,028    —      (63,880)   —      —      —      (63,880)
Modification of warrants   —      —      —      —      —      —      188,493    —      —      —      188,493 
Issuance of warrants   —      —      —      —      —      —      336,250    (330,000)   —      —      6,250 
Conversion of debt and liabilities   —      —      —      —      200,000    —      100,000    —      —      —      100,000 
Net loss   —      —      —      —      —      —      —      —      (2,654,202)   (4,930)   (2,659,132)
Balances, June 30, 2019   —      —      —      —      28,068,688    —      110,126,802    (504,650)   (124,346,158)   49,408    (14,674,598)
Issuance of common stock for services